It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
October is breast cancer awareness month. It’s likely that you or someone you know has or is a survivor of breast cancer. In light of the prevalence of this disease, it’s vital that everyone, men and women, understand this disease and what it means for those in your life. In this post, we’ve got key information on detection and treatment.
Leading a Healthy Lifestyle
You may know someone or may be that person, who lives a very healthy life – eats right, exercises, doesn’t smoke, gets lots of rest, and generally is very healthy. And then shockingly gets the diagnosis of breast cancer. It doesn’t add up – you or your loved one has done everything “right” and still got this diagnosis. This is frustrating and can make most of us feel anger, hopelessness, and confusion.
However, it doesn’t mean that giving up on a healthy balanced lifestyle is the solution. We don’t want you to be fatalistic and think “what is the point – it didn’t make a difference.” The truth is, it did and does make a difference. The stronger and healthier you are, the better your body can respond to the disease and use your healthy immune system to support breast cancer treatment and recovery.
So, please do these things to ensure you’re healthy and doing all that you can to lower your risk.
- Stay active. Based on numerous studies and analyses, the research shows that 45 to 60 minutes of moderate activity a minimum of five days a week, can reduce your breast cancer risk by 30 to 40 percent. According to the Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, not exercising could increase your breast cancer risk by 60 percent.
- Keep a healthy body weight. Research shows that women who gain a minor amount of weight (11 pounds) have an increased breast cancer risk. This increased weight results in more fat cells which in turn causes a higher estrogen level. Estrogen is recognized as the hormone that leads to breast cancer.
- Control your alcohol intake. Drinking alcohol stimulates estrogen production – increasing your breast cancer risk. Results from the Nurses’ Health Study showed that post-menopausal women who drank on average 1.5 drinks per day were 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than non-drinkers.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. You know how beneficial fruits and vegetables are in keeping you healthy and supporting a strong immune system. Research also shows that the phytochemicals in these foods help lower estrogen levels, helping to keep this hormone level under control. While all fruits and vegetables are good for you, try adding in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
- Don’t smoke. While the research is not definitive on the connection between smoking and breast cancer, there is a proven link between cancer and smoking. If you are a smoker, begin to take steps to quit smoking and limit exposure to second-hand smoke to reduce your cancer risk.
- Take AHCC. AHCC has been used with great success in cancer patients. Data from the treatment of over 100,000 individuals with various types of cancer have shown AHCC treatment to be of benefit in 60% of cases. AHCC is particularly effective for liver, lung, stomach, colon, breast, thyroid, ovarian, testicular, tongue, kidney and pancreatic cancers.
There are no guarantees in life, but by making these small lifestyle changes – you can make a large difference in your overall health and breast cancer risk levels. Not only will you feel better, you’ll know that you’re doing what you can to keep yourself healthy.
Breast Cancer Detection
It cannot be said enough – women of all ages should complete a monthly at-home breast exam. It is with these home breast self-exams that changes in your breasts are caught early and can lead to an early diagnosis.
When completing your monthly breast self-exam, pay attention to the following:
- Are your nipples or breast tender? Do you feel any new lumps?
- Has the texture of your skin changed, such as larger pores or a bumpy orange-peel like texture?
- Did you find a new or larger lump? Some women do have lumpy breasts, but do get any lumps examined by your healthcare professional.
- Be aware of changes in the size of one or both of your breasts. Is there any localized swelling or shrinkage?
- Have your nipples changed?
- Is there any clear or bloody nipple discharge?
If you notice any of these signs, contact your healthcare professional. Do not take a wait-and-see approach. It’s better to get checked by a professional than to hope that you’re wrong.
Many women don’t know how to perform a breast self-exam. Please read the information provided by the National Breast Cancer Foundation for details on how to properly complete a breast self-exam.
Also, please talk your doctor about a mammogram. Depending on your age, health, and family history your needs differ from those of your friends.–Discuss this with your doctor and be proactive in early detection of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Generally, breast cancer treatment is based on the type and stage of breast cancer. There are four stages of breast cancer that you should understand:
Stage 1 applies to an invasive tumor that has started invading surrounding tissue. The first step of treatment is surgery to remove the entire tumor.
Stages 2 and 3 relate to the size of the tumor (typically between two and five centimeters) and whether or not cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit.
Stage 4 distinguishes breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, bones or brain.
(From We Answer Your Most Crucial Questions About Breast Cancer, Canadian Living Magazine, September 12, 2017.)
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your treatment plan will be individualized based on your age, your diagnosis, and your current health status. It is important that you feel 100 percent comfortable with the treatment decisions you make with your doctors. Please review this thorough guide to treatment put together by the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
AHCC has been shown to help those in treatment by working to alleviate chemotherapy symptoms. Tell your doctor that you’re taking AHCC – as well as any other natural supplements. It’s vital that your healthcare team is aware of all natural supplements, vitamins, and minerals that you’re taking along with any other prescription medications.
Be proactive in keeping yourself healthy and fit before the detection, treatment, and recovery of breast cancer and all other cancers. Modern medical knowledge is simply amazing and a diagnosis is not the end – learn all you can, ask your doctor every question you have, talk to your friends, stay positive and keep your eyes on the future.
Please share this article about breast cancer awareness on your social media networks, with your friends, family, and colleagues. The more everyone knows – the better off everyone will be.