Your Breast Cancer Questions, Answered (From Someone Who Knows)

Shaney Jo Darden has been highlighting breast cancer awareness, education, and prevention for almost 20 years. Like many women and men who have been touched by breast cancer, Shaney Jo was compelled to help others through her experience with the disease. She founded the Keep A Breast Foundation in 2000 to spread awareness through art (like her Treasured Chest Program that has been featured in art galleries around the globe) that early detection can literally save your life. 



We have been collaborating with the Keep A Breast foundation every year for our limited edition KAB Collection bags, and this year, we're proud to welcome Shaney Jo to our community for a Q&A takeover, with questions sourced by our Instagram squad!

Shaney Jo isn't a doctor, but she is a committed warrior in the fight against breast cancer. If you missed her takeover yesterday, you can still catch the story in our Highlights or read on for the highlights. 


Q: Is traditional deodorant really linked with increasing your chances of cancer? — @kaynadineee

A: There are few particularly toxic ingredients in traditional deodorant to avoid, like fragrance, triclosan, parabens, BHT, and phthalates. Since we use deodorant every day, it’s one of the top products we suggest switching out to non toxic.


Q: Is cancer usually caused by genetics? — @djwellaroy

A: Sometimes, yes! But, family history and genetics only account for 5-10% of breast cancer diagnosis. Environmental factors are responsible for the other 90-95%.


Q: What is the 'breast cancer" gene often referenced? And how do we get tested for it? — @meganjosterhout

A: Everyone has the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, but the risk exists in a mutation of those genes and doesn’t mean you will be diagnosed. You can get tested by a doctor or order a genetic health test. Do your research!


Q: What is the largest misconception surrounding breast cancer? — @euxxth

A: The largest would be that most diagnoses are due to family history instead of environmental factors. The second largest being that breast cancer only happens to women over 40. Any gender can get breast cancer and approximately 12,000 under the age of 40 are diagnosed every year.


Q: [Breast cancer] seems very scary to me as a young woman. Should I be scared? How can I feel more in control? — @evidentlysara

A: We don’t want anyone to live in fear, and knowing what’s normal for your body is the best way to take control. When you check yourself, you’re not checking for cancer. You’re connecting with your body so when something is wrong, you know early.


Q: How do you support stage 4 breast cancer research? - @addicted_to_lite

A: We wish we were able to offer programs for everyone, but we are a very small organization and our focus is on early detection. We understand that this can be off-putting for those whose cancer has metastasized. We recommend the following organizations that are specifically dedicated to this community: The Cancer Couch Foundation, METAvivor and MBCN.


Q: What do I look for? What do I avoid? - @summerrosegoodwin

A: Check out the Non-Toxic Revolution for ingredients to avoid in products. Look for ways to reduce stress. Look for legislation that regulates toxic chemicals and increases access to women’s health. And look out for you by checking yourself often.


Q: How early should I get screened if my grandparents had breast cancer? — @dj_ej99

A: Download the Check Yourself! App and start your monthly self-check to know your normal. If more intense screening will put your mind at ease, visit your doctor and advocate for your health.


Q: How do you know if someone has breast cancer before it's too late? - @veronicsisk

A: We advocate for a monthly self-check because 40% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer discover their own lump. Our app guides you through any warning signs. Do your self-check monthly and you’ll know when something changes so you can get checked and catch it early.


Big shout out and huge thanks to Shaney Jo for the takeover, and helping keep the Stasher squad healthy and happy!

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