Breast cancer is that unwelcome guest that you would never think of inviting into your home, let alone your life. American women are the most affected by this sometimes fatal disease. Diagnosis is no longer a death sentence as a result of increased awareness and treatment improvements. Though death rates have decreased from times past, we still have work to do.
Breast cancer is still scary. A few years ago, I had such as scare. My mammogram revealed a lump. At that moment, many thoughts crossed my mind. The doctor explained that it could be something or nothing at all, but we needed to do a biopsy to see. I can’t express to you how completely my mind focused in on the most important things in my life. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing, but it made me think about life in a different way. Before the incident of the lump, I practiced a pretty healthy lifestyle. But, I saw other ways I could take it to a different level. I didn’t like that feeling of loss of control I felt. Breast cancer may be around, but we have control of our lives and how we choose to live it. I want to share some battle techniques with you.
One of the first ways to do battle is to get knowledge. There are so many ways this can be done, books, internet, specialists, and more. Gaining knowledge will keep you informed and provide suggestions for lifestyle. The first question that flashes in most of our minds when our health is under attack is, “What caused this to happen?” With breast cancer, it’s frustrating because an exact caused has not been identified. Speculation centers on hormonal loads, fluctuations, DNA, or chemical components in each of our cells.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) outlines some risk factors that may contribute to breast cancer. Other sources share the same list, give or take a few things. Family history on either parent side poses a risk as well as your own personal history of cancerous or non-cancerous breast disease. Other risk factors include any treatment with radiation to the chest, long-term use of hormone replacement therapy, drinking alcohol, working the night shift, having dense breast tissue, and having taken Diethylstilbestrol (DES). Women were given this 1940-1971. It’s a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen. It places daughters of the mothers who took it at risk also.
The number one indicator of breast concerns is a lump or mass in the breast. They can be painful or not. Other things you might notice concerning the breast or nipple is swelling, redness, thickening, pain, skin irritation, or dimpling. Nipple turning inward and discharge is another concern. A good time to check for lumps is during your monthly menstruation. Get knowledge now. It may be nothing to be concerned about. But, any time you see any of these indicators, seek help. I urge you to be proactive, and not wait until something happens.
We don’t have to stand by powerless, we can do something through our lifestyle and our choices. Diet, physical activity, environmental factors, and rest are key ways for us to get involved in taking care ourselves.
Diet. You cannot take for granted that the foods we eat daily are totally healthy for us. Take the time to do an inventory of items in your cupboards. How many things are natural or mostly in pure form? Do you eat foods that are known to fight cancer like spinach, wheat grass shots, or fiber? If so, how much do you consume in a week? I know some like to consider the taste of foods in making their decision about what to eat, but I challenge you to include eating for disease fighting abilities.
Exercise. Obesity is one of those factors that could put you at more of a risk for breast cancer. The way to treat it is with physical activity. Every day, be committed to exercising your body in a variety of ways. Make it fun. Making this commitment will keep you in a healthy weight zone but also alleviate other health issues.
Environments. Inspect your environment for things that could potentially put you at risk for breast cancer. Think about the products you use on your hair and skin. Women like to look good, and we will buy products that promise to help us do that. My advice is to purchase products that include natural ingredients as much as possible. We can’t think that businesses are going to look out for you this way. We simply have to take those steps ourselves. Certain ingredients in hair products have been seen in breast samples of breast cancer patients. Do your homework.
Rest. Keep stress at bay, and get the rest you need. Your body needs that rest time to regroup. It’s not healthy to always be in fast mode. Manage your stress in a sustainable way. Communication with someone you trust, exercise, and meditation are some suggestions. Have a bedtime, and actually sleep.
Support. If you do find yourself in the position where breast cancer has intruded into your life, get support. Don’t go it alone. This is the time to call those who care and will be by your side. Make connections with those who specialize in nutrition and health to gain as much help as you can during this trying time.
Know your options. Take the time to read and talk with your doctor about treatments available. Breast cancer can be approached in different ways depending on individual cases. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are ones you hear about most often. I would also encourage you to learn about natural treatments as well.
Keep an open mind. Be as positive as you can. I know it’s easier said than done, but your positive energy improves outcomes. Engage in activities that you enjoy. Explore your fear, and talk through it to identify what is rational and what is irrational.
Engage your family. Breast cancer not only affects women. It affects their families too. Make your wishes known. Prepare your family for every possible outcome. Seek calm and peace through control of what you can control. Establish new healthy routines if needed. Refuse the feeling of guilt that the family must change to accommodate your health routine. Communicate the benefit that comes from supporting you and enjoying a healthier lifestyle.
The thought that your life could be threatened at a moment’s notice is reason enough to take what action you can today. Breast cancer may exist, but we don’t have to welcome it!
[Taunya is nurse, author, and a three-year homeschool veteran. She is currently working on two books, the 3rd in the Brady Boe series, and Truth–the first in the End Time Saga Trilogy. #ReadTSW at taunyasBnB.com]