October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and businesses, corporations, organizations and the like are bringing awareness to the disease in every way they can. Dr. Jackie Walters, a nationally celebrated board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, is a two-time breast cancer survivor that has done more than just bring awareness to the illness, she’s also doing something about it. She authored the book Perfect Imperfections and founded the 50 Shades of Pink foundation to “treat the inner and outer beauty of breast cancer survivors.” The foundation is an inclusive organization that’s motivated to bring heightened awareness to community resources, stress the importance of developing a strong system of support, and help to create an environment of hope and optimism.
Walters was recently interviewed by HLN’s Lynn Smith on the show “Weekend Express” and shared her experience with rolling out.
How did you feel sharing your message on a platform like HLN?
Being asked to share my story of turning the pain of breast cancer into a purpose confirms that I am walking in my purpose. I often take every bit of negativity that life brings and create something positive that I can use or others can use to improve their lives!
What message did you share with them?
I was able to share how I took two breast cancer bouts and created my foundation, 50 Shades of Pink Foundation, to help nurture the woman with the disease. This is a little different than other breast cancer foundations where they are taking care of the disease – which is necessary, but I wanted to treat the woman with the disease and not just the disease.
I introduced the world to my “perfect imperfection” look book where we showcased women who have had or currently has breast cancer. These are women who may have become “breast angels” after a difficult fight with breast cancer and women who are supporters of breast cancer. [We do this] to let the world know that all women are beautiful, whether it’s with or without breasts.
What designer dress and shoes did you wear?
I wore a soft pink laced Valentino dress and shoes.
How did you decide to what to wear?
I like clean, classy, comfortable clothes and shoes and yes, it had to be pink!
How does your look impact how you recover and manage during breast cancer treatment?
Research has shown that when we feel good we obviously do much better. The immune system is always stronger when our minds are in a good place! As my motto says “Look good, feel good and do good.”
We strongly believe at 50 Shades of Pink Foundation that when a woman looks good she feels good and previously stated, she will “do” good! In our foundation that’s exactly what we do: we give those items that will help a woman to look good, so that she feels good, so she will “do” good. Be it a comfortable robe, fingernail polish, lipstick, warming blankets nonaluminum deodorant, custom designed wigs or journals, we gift her with these items in order to help woman look good!
What do women need to do after breast cancer awareness month?
Breast cancer awareness month is kind of like Christmas, it comes but once a year. However, I want women to be aware of their breasts, not only in the month of October, but to be aware every month that (1) Because you are a woman, you are automatically at risk and (2) Breast cancer doesn’t care about age, race, or religion, socioeconomic status or profession.
There are many ways to improve your risk profile:
- Self-breast awareness. Become aware of the geography of your breast.
- Know your family history not just your mom’s history. Eighty five percent of breast cancer has nothing to with genetics.
- Get moving – exercise seems to protect against breast cancer several ways:
- First, It controls weight.The more fat in a woman’s body the estrogen stimulates the overgrowth of cells.
- Second, exercise alters estrogen metabolism. Among women who exercise the ratio of good estrogen to bad estrogen (those that can damage DNA and increased risk to breast cancer) improves roughly by 25%.
- Eat the right foods every day. Research continues to produce promising evidence that what you eat can affect your risk. Women who eat fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens, have a 19% lower risk of breast cancer than those with lower levels. The American Cancer Society recommends eating fiber, more servings of fruits and veggies a day, and eliminating processed foods, red meat and cheese help reduce risk of all types of cancer.
- Limit alcohol. No more than one drink per day. Anymore than that increases your breast cancer up to 1.5 times that of someone doesn’t drink it all.
- Detect “it” early.
What else can we expect from 50 Shades of Pink?
50 Shades of Pink will introduce a support group for those women were newly diagnosed or those women who need further support to navigate through their “new norm.” You can get involved by connecting with us at 50shadesofpinkfoundation.org