"Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon is on a crusade - and it's all in support of the gals.
Nixon recently joined Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer advocacy organization, as an Ambassador. In addition to sharing her personal experience with breast cancer and attending key events, Nixon will reach millions through a series of public service announcements designed to educate people about the deadly disease and help engage them in Komen for the Cure's global breast cancer movement.
In case you're not in the SATC loop, Nixon has been playing for our team since 2003. According to New York Magazine:
She's done something perversely radical: She's made her own coming-out story boring. That's because it isn't a coming-out story at all, she insists. "I never felt like there was an unconscious part of me around that woke up or that came out of the closet; there wasn't a struggle, there wasn't an attempt to suppress. I met this woman, I fell in love with her, and I'm a public figure."
But enough of the juicy gossip. . . let's talk about the breast-esses. "As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, knowing my personal risk made me more aware and more empowered when I faced my own diagnosis," said Nixon.
I'm sure many of our readers are already aware of the fact that lesbians have a high risk of breast cancer. (No thanks to the fake PSA on the "L Word" after they killed off Dana's character. But I'll save that rant for another time.) Several factors contribute to this phenomenon:
According to the American Cancer Society, the best defense against cancer is prevention and early detection. Lesbians, as a group, may have higher risks for certain types of cancer based on higher rates of some specific risk factors. In addition, they experience barriers to care that could impede early detection.
There are a few key factors that may increase risk for various cancers. Survey research and clinical experience suggest that these risk factors may be more common among women who partner with women. Lesbians are more likely to smoke, drink more alcohol, and be overweight, which increase the risk of cancer. They are less likely to use oral contraceptives, bear children (nulliparity) or breast feed, and to go to the doctor regularly, which can decrease the risk of cancer. Lesbians and bisexual women are also significantly more likely than heterosexual women to have never had a mammogram and to eat fewer fruits and vegetables daily.
I can attest to the fact that early detection is definitely the key. Two years ago, my chosen mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had gone to the doctor for her annual check up when the doctor discovered the early signs of a particularly virulent form of breast cancer. She was scheduled for a biopsy that same week. Within the space of a month she already had a mastectomy and started chemo. During the biopsy they removed one of her lymph nodes to make sure that the cancer wasn't in her lymphatic system. And because they caught the cancer early enough, there weren't any signs that the cancer has spread. Thanks to the amazing advances in breast cancer diagnosis and treatments, my mom has a very good prognosis and a 98% chance of having no recurrence.
Nixon agrees about the importance of regular breast exams and early detection. "Talk with your doctor, make healthy lifestyle choices and most importantly, know your body, as that can make all the difference in the world."