Bright Pink: Five Things to Know About Breast and Ovarian Health

by: Carli Feinstein & Alicia Quarles

If you read the intro on the homepage, or know me, then you know I lost, we lost, Diem Brown, who was my best friend. Diem passed away after her third battle with ovarian cancer a couple of years ago. Diem’s legacy is cemented in the fact that she wanted all of us to know our health risks, ask questions of our doctors and to help each other during our times of need. In fact, Diem started her own organization, Med Gift, to help patients suffering from various illnesses.

When my good friend, Alana Salata, moved from New York back to her hometown Chicago and started working for Bright Pink, it seemed Diem sent. I met with their CEO and founder, Lindsay Avner, and felt chills. This woman literally had the same crazy/beautiful amount of energy, passion and cool as Diem did. Yep, just like D, Lindsay is my spirit animal and is relentless when it comes to helping women gain knowledge about their health. Lindsay has now passed on the presidential ranks to the fabulous, Katie Thiede, who tells us, “like so many, my life has been touched profoundly and deeply by breast and ovarian cancer and Bright Pink’s mission and message is empowering and makes the opportunities for impact limitless.”

Lindsay just had a new baby, and is a mother to an extended family with her hubby, Gregg Kaplan. She’s also still Bright Pink’s Chairman of the Board, which I’m on as well.

As you can tell, our Bright Pink family is vast. We want you take simple steps to protect your health, from our Bright Pink family to yours:

1. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. One in 75 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her lifetime. “Low risk” doesn’t exist. All women have at least this average risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Some are at a higher risk due to family and personal health history. Also, remember that breast and ovarian cancer risk can run on your dad’s side. Collecting your entire family’s health history is an important first step to learning your own risk.

2. Assess Your Risk: You can find out your personal cancer risk in five minutes. Visit

3. You can do something about it. Once you know your risk, you can make lifestyle changes and implement risk management strategies to improve your health and your odds. For example, did you know exercising 30 minutes on most days can reduce your breast cancer risk?

4. See your doctor. Get in front of your gynecologist or general practitioner every year, even when you feel healthy, and make sure he or she performs a clinical breast exam (feels your breasts). Bright Pink created National Call Your Doctor Day™ to motivate women to schedule this important exam. In 2017 National Call Your Doctor Day is observed on June 13th. Learn more at

5. Know your normal: Every woman has different breasts — so be breast self-aware by checking in and monitoring changes over time. Lumps that are soft or that come and go are not concerning; lumps that are hard (like a frozen pea) should get checked out — but remember, 80 percent of lumps are not cancer. Tip: Text PINK to 59227 to sign up for monthly Breast Health Reminders™! And don’t forget to also be ovarian self-aware. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague and often confused with digestive or menstrual complaints, so pay close attention to prolonged bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, pelvic or abdominal pain, and the need to urinate urgently or often. If you have symptoms like this for 2-3 weeks see your doctor and ask, “could it be my ovaries?”.

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