I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in January 2014. I have no family history and live a very healthy lifestyle. I’m a forester for the U.S. Forest Service and typically hike 30-40 hours a week for work. Throughout my treatment, I underwent major surgery (double mastectomy), 4.5 months of gnarly chemo, 1.5 months of radiation, 1 year of harsh immunotherapies, and ongoing anti-hormone therapy. I’ve had my fertility compromised, and my plans for starting a family with my husband were put on hold and have become immensely complicated. My bone density is taking a hit from all the treatments, and if I move forward with the anti-hormone treatments my oncologist would like to see me on, I will have osteoporosis in 2 years unless I take other drugs to specifically build my bones.
But, I have had wonderful amazing support and am grateful for that every day. During chemo, I attended the Look Good, Feel Better Program. It was such a great program—giving women a place to feel comfortable and good about themselves, have some fun, and meet some other women also going through treatments.
I was SHOCKED and APPALLED when I received my bag of freebies to see that the items had toxic chemicals in them! I mean seriously, the American Cancer Society is really handing out products with carcinogens and hormone disruptors to cancer patients?!? Once I got through my treatments and settled back into my new normal, which is still being established at this point, I planned on going after ACS for this.
I am happy to see Breast Cancer Action has beat me to the punch, and I hope companies whose main goal is to improve the safety of cosmetics on the market, join the fight.
I know ACS is well-intentioned, as well as the companies donating the products, but it’s time to push this organization and the cosmetic industry to create safer products. The amount of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis is astounding, and while they may be “safe” on an individual basis, cumulatively we have no idea what these substances are doing to ourselves and the environment. What we do know is that the cancer rates on this country are on the rise, and breast cancer in young women is increasing at an alarming rate!