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A Breast Health Success Story

How co-founder Amelia Kirchoff and her daughter Jola persevered through extraordinary circumstances and created a nutrition bar brand based on a macrobiotic diet.

In 2003, GoMacro co-founder Amelia Kirchoff, became one of the 12% of women who will be diagnosed at some point in their lives as having breast cancer. When Amelia was diagnosed, she went through a lumpectomy and brachytherapy, because they were the least invasive of her treatment options. The lumpectomy removed the cancer, and was followed by brachytherapy, which carefully aims a small amount of radiation at just the part of the breast where the cancer is located. After treatment, the doctor wanted to put Amelia on tamoxifen for five years; this is a prescription medication that is intended to prevent a recurrence of the cancer treatment. After some deep soul searching and conversations with an aunt who successfully overcame stage 4 lymphoma through alternative treatments and diet changes, Amelia chose to forego tamoxifen. Instead she embraced the healing power of a macrobiotic diet.

A Macrobiotic Diet

Amelia’s daughter, GoMacro co-founder and CEO Jola Sonkin, joined Amelia on her macrobiotic journey and together they gave up eating meat and animal products, eggs, dairy, refined sugars and flours, hydrogenated oils, processed foods, additives, artificial colorings and preservatives. About a year after Amelia's diagnosis her health was much improved and she started adding some healthy sweet treats back into her diet. Experimenting with different organic sweeteners she hit on a great tasting nutrition bar and that is how the very first GoMacro MacroBars were created. That was 11 years ago and Amelia is strong and healthy today. A powerful story about the ability of the human body to heal itself under the right conditions. A macrobiotic diet may not work for everyone, but the GoMacro family is so grateful that it worked for Amelia.

Make a commitment to your breast health

Prevention and early detection is so important. Make a commitment to do your monthly breast exam. Every woman needs to know how to comfortably do a breast exam. A breast exam helps you to get to know your breasts so you'll know what is normal for you. That way, if there are any changes in your breasts, you'll know. Some possible signs of a change are feeling a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or retraction, redness or scaliness, or a discharge from the breasts that isn’t milk. If you see any of these signs, you should see your doctor. For clear and simple instructions, videos and a cool monthly self-check app check out Keep A Breast Foundation. And guys, although it's not as common, men can get breast cancer too, so be sure to check yourself.

Traditional & Alternative Screenings

In addition to your monthly self exam, having an annual breast thermography imaging exam or mammogram is important. Breast thermography is considered a less invasive risk assessment tool than a mammogram. Professionals will advise you to get both tests because one does not replace the other, but rather, they work together to detect early onset symptoms or pre-symptoms of breast cancer. A breast thermography exam can detect hormone information to inform your doctor of any hormone imbalances that can be addressed. The benefit is that the information provided by a thermography exam helps a woman make choices earlier about her breast care and the prevention of future cancer. Thermography allows younger women access to a screening tool for breast health whereas mammograms are recommended annually for women 40 and over. Starting at age 20 young women can use thermography for regular breast health exams. Mammograms are generally recommended for women who have a higher chance of getting breast cancer for various reasons, including a close family member who’s had it or having a known gene mutation. There's some controversy on routine mammograms and whether or not they're helpful or harmful due to the radiation exposure. The choice is yours, but please choose a regular screening tool and if you haven't done it yet, make an appointment to get your baseline test done and in your medical records.

Diet, Exercise and Avoiding Toxins

Getting informed about healthy eating, exercise and the choices you make as a consumer to avoid toxins will go a long way toward breast cancer prevention. There's a lot of information out there about foods that support the growth of cancer cells, such as sugars, and foods that help fend off and or destroy cancer cells such as lentils and cruciferous vegetables. Exercise is known to help lower your risk of getting cancer, so get your exercise 3-5 days a week for 30-60 minutes. One of the most important topics to get informed about is the danger of toxic chemicals in our environment and food supply. We're exposed to toxins on a daily basis in our households, our clothing, cosmetics and other consumer products. Again check out Keep A Breast and their Non-Toxic Revolution for cutting-edge facts about the dangers of toxic chemicals that are linked to the initiation of breast cancer.

Your best defense against breast cancer is information and education. So get informed and start putting what you learn into practice. It's never too late. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month but we encourage you to commit to the health of your breasts year-round. Develop good breast health as a commitment to your life-long health and wellness. Be well. Live long.