Being Active About Your Health Is a Year-Round Priority

10/13/2011 08:32 am ET | Updated Dec 13, 2011

I recently learned that one-in-eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States. That's why every woman should take control of her health and get educated on simple steps that can detect breast cancer early. Early detection helps save thousands of lives every year; and the five-year survival rate of a stage-one diagnosis is 98%. Moreover, this shouldn't be something we only think and talk about during October's breast cancer awareness month; being active about your health is something all women should do year round.

I've always been an advocate for women's health, but I've grown even more passionate about breast cancer awareness after four women I known -- all under the age of 40, and none with a family history -- were diagnosed with the disease in the last year. Years ago, my sister Laura also detected a cyst in one of breasts, which fortunately turned out to be benign. As a result, I have become quite vigilant about self examinations.

Women need to take a more proactive approach to their health. It sounds so simple, but it's something a lot of women don't do. Maybe you don't have the time, you're not sure what to do, or you're uncomfortable talking about it. We're so concerned about our weight, or the way we look -- but we can't have any of that if we aren't healthy. We need to make our health a priority.

Conducting a self breast self-exam at least once a month and getting a mammogram once a year after age 40 are simple preventative measures that can save lives. My sister and I now keep a breast exam chart in our showers. There are plenty of simple steps you can take to create an early detection plan that works for you and fits into your life.

I recently paired up with P&G and the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) to launch a campaign called GIVE Hope to help raise awareness about the importance of early detection. One way we are doing this is by offering women a free tool to create and follow their own personalized Early Detection Plan® -- check it out here: If you'd like to support the NBCF further and help spread the word about the importance of early detection, visit Help us share the gift of early detection!