As travelers, surfers, and adventure seekers who are always Just Passing Through, we have the responsibility to give back to our communities close to home and abroad. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so we teamed up with Liza Tagliati (@lizatags), a Breast-Cancer Awareness advocate and all-around rad human to shed light on how you can get involved and lower your risk for breast cancer.
What inspires you, and what is your favorite thing about giving back?
I'm always inspired by seeing people come together over something they mutually care about to actually make a difference. My favorite part about giving back is getting to see the impact it makes first hand—good people bringing out the good in people.
What non-profits have you been involved with?
I was the marketing manager for Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC) for 5 years, which really gave me the opportunity to get to know the inner workings of a nonprofit and the cancer community. I've also always supported environmental nonprofits POW and Surfrider, and I'm a big fan of programs like Chill and Stoked as well that help underprivileged youth get involved in skate, surf and snow sports.
How has surfing/snowboarding/the outdoors played a role in your involvement with B4BC?
It's because of snowboarding that I got involved in B4BC in the first place. I was living in Lake Tahoe and teaching snowboarding when I went to my first B4BC event—a Shred The Love Rail Jam at Sugar Bowl.
I really connect with the concept of getting people outdoors and active as a means to prevent cancer—it makes so much sense to me. There is not enough focus on prevention, and there is so much scientific data out there that supports the idea that changing lifestyle habits can help prevent breast cancer.
Sports like snowboarding, surfing and skating are such passion sports—a large percentage of that community will tell you that once you've connected with a sport like that, it's going to keep you active and outdoors for life, which reduces your cancer risk.
How can people get involved?
Nonprofits are always looking for help, and there are so many ways to get involved. Whether you want to support the cause by donating, raising funds or volunteering, you can really make an impact for a cause you care about. Visit a nonprofit's website to find out more ways to get involved.
Tips on breast cancer prevention
There are so many factors that affect each person's breast cancer risk including genetics, lifestyle habits, environmental factors and random gene mutations. Instead of focusing on the risks that you can't control, the most positive use of your time and energy is focusing on the things that you can.
The two most important factors in preventing breast cancer are early detection and living a healthy, active lifestyle.
The most effective way to catch breast cancer in it's beginning stages is through early detection. If breast cancer is detected in stage 1, there is a 98.6% survival rate—which is a pretty incredible statistic to work with. The main component of B4BC's traveling education booth was teaching young people how to perform a breast self-exam, and encouraging them to keep it up every month.
(You can learn how to do a breast self-exam at b4bc.org/get-educated)
The second factor is prevention. Being proactive about your health, especially at a young age, can make a huge difference in your breast cancer risk over time. There are lifestyle and environmental factors that you can help eliminate by taking action and changing certain elements in your life. For example, choosing non-toxic cosmetics and eating organic foods can reduce your exposure to estrogen-mimickers in chemicals found in your cosmetics and pesticides, which add up over the course of a lifetime (The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ is a great resource for checking the toxicity of the products you use everyday). Exercising regularly also reduces your risk by decreasing the amount of estrogen in your body. You can read up on B4BC's 8 Steps To Stomp Out Breast Cancer for more prevention tips that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. ( https://b4bc.org/7-steps-to-stomp-out-breast-cancer/)