Breast Cancer Awareness


In October, you often see a lot of orange and black as people begin to decorate for Halloween, but more and more, you’re starting to see pink.  That’s because October has taken on a whole new and more important meaning.  October is breast cancer awareness month.  </font><font face=”Courier New”>Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst women, and affects thousands of women every year. The good news is that it is only the 8th killer of women #1 is heart attack) and it is treatable.


In fact, there are millions of breast cancer survivors out there.  The key is early detection and treatment.  That’s why October is dedicated to educating people about breast cancer and how to prevent and treat it.


Like many cancers, the earlier it is detected and treated, the more likely it is to go into remission.  There are several steps you can take to increase your chances of detecting a problem early.


* Get yearly or bi-yearly mammograms.  You may need to get a mammogram more often if your doctor thinks there might be a problem, or if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.


* Do a monthly breast self-exam.  This is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your own breast health, and it’s also how most breast lumps are discovered.  Learn to look at and feel your breast for any changes in color, shape, size, texture, and any lumps.


* Get a yearly exam.  See a doctor for a yearly breast and reproductive exam.  They can help detect early problems and address any questions of concerns you might have.


* Don’t ignore problems.  Many women are embarrassed to talk to their doctor about their breast or reproductive health, but what might be a small issue now could turn into a big problem later.  No question is silly and no problem is too small; never be afraid to talk to your doctor.


Protecting yourself is just the first step in fighting breast cancer.  The second step is informing others of the dangers and precautions as well.  Every woman, including your mother, sisters, daughters, friends, co-workers, and any other women you know, should be aware of the dangers of breast cancer and how to protect herself.


That’s why it’s important to talk to the women in your life.  You can even start a group with your friends and family to remind each other to do monthly breast exams and to get your yearly mammograms.


In addition to prevention and education, another key part of getting rid of breast cancer is treatment.  While you may not be cut out to be a cancer researcher, you can donate your time and money to organizations fighting to eliminate breast cancer.


Not only can you donate money directly to them, you can also buy products that support the cause as well.  Just look for the pink ribbon on labels at your local grocery store.


While breast cancer can be devastating for many women and their families, this October you can start helping to prevent and treat breast cancer in your neighborhood and around the world, as we all work together to find a cure. An then think about wearing a red ribbon in February for women’s heart health month!!


Dealing with Breast Cancer


If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed right about now.  You’ve been given all kinds of tests, information and treatment options.


But don’t let what you’ve learned bog you down.  There is hope and you do have options.  Here are some things to consider that will help you cope with breast cancer.


One of the most important factors in dealing with breast cancer, or any disease, is education.  When you first get your diagnosis, you’ll likely get caught up in all the statistics and treatment options you doctor will present you with.


If you take the time to read the literature provided and do research on your own, you’ll be better able to make decisions and feel more confident and in control of your fate.


It is also important to remember that the sooner you’re treated, the better your chances of recovery.  So make sure you’re not researching so much that you delay treatment.  You need to strike a balance.


While following your doctor’s treatment orders are vitally important, there are other options you can try on your own, like dietary changes and alternative therapies.


Along with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids, there are many supplements that are said to help with breast cancer.  Just remember to fully research the type and brand of any supplement to ensure the quality and effectiveness of ingredients before you take them. They are not regulated by the FDA and there is little evidence to support their claims, so buyer beware.


Other alternative treatments include yoga, relaxation therapy, and other alternative options like reiki, acpuncture, and tai chi.  While it is still debatable whether these treatments actually help fight cancer, they can definitely decrease the physical symptoms and reduce stress and emotional symptoms.


This will leave you feeling better and will make your body better able to fight the cancer.  Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you are taking control and doing something to help your body fight back.


As with any serious illness, having strong social and emotional support can drastically increase your chances of a full recovery.  It is important to focus on your family, friends, activities, and other things you have to live for rather than the bad things that can happen to you.


These people will also be there to help support you through your treatment and recovery and help you through the hard times.  Online and community forums and groups can be great sources of information and ideas on how to cope.


It is a good idea to not only surround yourself with family and friends, but also to find people like you who are going through the same thing as you.


Ask your doctor about cancer support groups in your area.  These people will not only be a friend and shoulder to lean on, they can also provide insight that your friends and family can’t, because they’ve been through, or are going through, the same thing you are.


Plus, these groups are often led by a trained professional who knows how to help as well.


Through it all, one of the most important things to remember is to keep a positive attitude.  While breast cancer is a serious disease, there are millions of women out there who have beaten it, and so can you, if you get the best information and work with your doctor to make the best choices for you


Breast Cancer Does Not Need to Ruin Your Life 2

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In a normal life, there are a lot of things to get done in a day and not enough hours to do them.  This is even more true when you have treatments to go to and are left feeling zapped of energy.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or simply accept it when it’s offered.


Many people want to fight on and not take charity from others, but this can leave you stressed, tired, and make your body less prepared to fight your illness.  Accepting the occasional dinner or offer to baby-sit can help you catch up or relax and leave you better able to cope.


While it may be a challenge to do, exercise is a great way to cope with the stress of breast cancer.  Not only will it lift your spirits, it can also help maintain a positive body image which can be affected by a breast cancer diagnosis, especially if you have to undergo a mastectomy.


Plus, once you get over the initial drain, exercise actually helps give you more energy which can get you through your treatment and the rest of the day.


While it is possible to cope and live with cancer, you have to remember that this will change your life in many ways,both mentally and physically. Along with the anger and ‘why me’, will come a new appreciation for life, and less focus on the small stuff, with more on the big picture and leading a meaningful life for however long we are blessed to be here.


While it is true that your life won’t be the same, you can still continue to live positively and not let breast cancer define you or beat you


Breast Cancer Does Not Need to Ruin Your Life 1

Part 1.

When you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, it may suddenly feel like the only thing that matters to you.  While it is important for you to spend time thinking about your treatment options and other arrangements, your cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to become your whole life.  With a bit of effort you can help take the focus off your cancer and continue thinking about the things that really matter to you.


The most important part of getting through breast cancer treatment is having people around to support you.  Whether it be friends, family, a support group, or another group of people, that support can actually be the difference between a failed and successful treatment.  Talking to survivors and learning as much as you can about the disease is a great way to stay positive and pro-active about your health.


If you let it, breast cancer can easily take over you life, from what you do to how you think.  This can leave you more stressed out and make your body less able to fight the disease.


Instead of stressing about what to do next, focus on relieving your stress.  A great way to do this is through yoga.  It calms your mind and body, helps you feel better mentally, and has even been shown to relieve the physical symptoms of breast cancer and cancer treatments.


Many people get their diagnosis and decide immediately that they must be strong and not let it get to them.  While this seems like a great philosophy, it’s not necessarily realistic.  You need to take time to express what you’re feeling instead of simply suppressing it and letting it get to you.


Yes, it’s good to keep a positive outlook, but you also need to take time to cry and vent your frustrations and fears to a friend or family member.  This will help you feel better and get through each day.


Continued in Part 2.


Breast Self-Exams Can Save your Life 2

Part 2.

Remember, most breast lumps are not cancer.  Pay attention for lumps that persist more than a month, or that grow or change shape with time. Again, new research says that just because you might be prone to lumps does not mean that you will inevitably get cancer.


You doctor can perform tests to determine if a bump is cancerous or benign; so you should see them with any concerns.


It is important to perform breast self-exams regularly, not just once or twice.  This is because a breast exam is looking more for changes rather than problems that are noticed with one exam.


You need to know how your breasts look and feel normally to determine if something has changed or is changing.  This means keeping it up regularly to find problem.


If you have breasts with a more lumpy consistency, or if you’re just not good at remembering your breast texture enough to notice changes, you might want to start keeping a journal.


This way, you can make notes or even draw a quick sketch to help yourself remember.  If you do notice changes, you can simply take the journal to your doctor to help find the problem.  You can also note down your dates on a calendar to remind yourself to do the exam, and check your health diary to make sure you are keeping up.


Because your breasts change somewhat during your cycle, perform exams at the same time every cycle.  While some people pick a day every month, this will gradually move to different times in your menstrual cycle.  A better time would be to perform is right after the end of your period every month.


While mammograms and annual exams are also essential, the self-exam is your most powerful tool in detecting breast cancer early, and therefore having a better chance of treating it successfully.


Breast Self-Exams Can Save Your Life 1

Part 1.

Breast self-exams are one of the most important tools around for detecting breast cancer, and they are still how most breast lumps are detected.


While annual exams and mammograms are important, doing a monthly self-exam can help find less obvious problems or spot changes sooner when they are more easily treated.  That’s why it’s important for every woman to know how and when to do them.


While most people think self-exams are all about feeling for lumps, the first step is to simply look at your breasts.  Do this by looking in a mirror, first with your arms down, then with them raised.  There are several different things you need to look for:


* Changes in shape or size.  While it is common for breasts to be two different sizes, watch to make sure one isn’t growing faster than the other.  This could be a sign of a problem.   Also look for visibly lumpy or uneven breasts.


Though recent research says that women who have lumpy breasts are not necessarily prone to cancer, any changes in the breast should be reported to your doctor.


* Changes in color.  Look for general color changes as well as rashes on the skin.


* Texture changes.  Examine each breast for rippling, dimpling, or bulging.  You should also note the shape and direction of the nipples.


* Discharge.  Check to see if there is any liquid or gooey discharge coming from the nipples.


The next step is to feel for lumps in your breasts.  This needs to be done twice, once while standing up, and once while laying flat on your back.  Many women prefer to feel for lumps while in the shower because it’s easier to move soapy fingers across the skin.


Put one arm behind your head as you examine the breast on that side.  Slowly move your fingers in a circular motion applying soft, medium, and firm pressure to each spot to ensure you examine deep and shallow tissues.  While different women use different patterns around the breast, the key is to make sure you cover every spot.


Continued in Part 2.


When Is a Good Time To Go for a Mammogram? Part 2

Part 2.


[If your mom or grandmother had breast cancer, you’re more likely to get it as well, so your doctor will probably want to give you a more thorough screening.  Also, your doctor may want to perform a mammogram earlier if you or they find a suspicious lump they want to investigate.


Lately, there has been a lot of talk about digital mammograms.  This is a great technology that can help save lives, but that doesn’t really mean you need to get a digital mammogram instead of a normal one.


These two machines produce the same picture, but a digital mammogram can do it faster because it doesn’t require films to be developed.  This new technology allows doctors to take a picture of an abnormality while they’re performing surgery, making their cuts more exact, but it makes little difference when getting a routine scan.


While mammograms are important, they shouldn’t be your only defense against breast cancer.  It is also important to perform a monthly breast self-exam to help with early detection of problems, and to have yearly exams by your doctor to detect breast and reproductive issues.


In addition, eating right, watching your weight, and being vigilant about any unexplained changes in your breasts will also go along way toward prevention of breast cancer, or early detection, when the likelihood of fighting the cancer is greatest