This month I lost a third friend and mother of two young kids to breast cancer. This stat is too high for me. Know your risks for breast cancer.
Decisions about birth control, hormone replacement therapy and how often to have a mammogram are vital and must be made with your health care provider. If you are going to a health care provider that does not talk to you about prevention then it is time to consider changing your provider. Education is really important to help women and those who care, understand the questions they need to ask. While you can’t change some breast cancer risk factors – family history and aging, for example – the ones below you can control.
Diet: Saying "no thanks" to a tempting dessert could help reduce the risk of breast cancer by eating right. We do know that a lifetime exposure to estrogen is linked to breast cancer risk, and that fatty tissue produces estrogen. More the fat in a woman's body, more estrogen and higher insulin levels she is exposed to. Maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise may make all the difference.
Mammograms: Find out if you have dense breasts. This can make cancers harder to spot. You may need 3D mammography and other more sophisticated imaging technology.
HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy): Hormone therapy, whether for birth control, menopause or osteoporosis prevention, can also expose women to estrogen. Find out low dose birth control options and limit HRT use to no more than 5 years.
Some symptoms that should have you making a beeline to the doctor are:
Finding out that you are facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis or have breast cancer can make you feel overwhelmed, vulnerable, and alone. Suddenly having to learn about complex medical treatments and trying to choose the best one can also be stressful during this time. You can reach out to American Cancer Society's Reach To Recovery Program or trained volunteers for support. To get matched with a Reach To Recovery volunteer, call 1-800-227-2345.
Complementary and alternative therapies are used for preventing and treating disease. They have been used in other countries for centuries, but are not taught widely in medical schools in the United States. Complementary therapies may include exercise, prayer, nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture, Qigong, massage, Reiki, and chiropractic care. Currently, prominent cancer treatment centers like Dana Farber, Brigham & Women's and Children's Hospital Boston are recognizing and offering Reiki and other integrative therapies alongside traditional medicine/therapy to maximize care and minimize/ease recovery time with no contraindications.
Reiki is a non-invasive therapy used for a variety of health purposes primarily for treating pain, stress, and fatigue; for speeding recovery from surgery or cancer therapy; for improving memory and feelings of well being and for end-of-life care.
Note most complementary therapies are not paid for by insurance. Some insurances will cover acupuncture and chiropractic services. Reimbursement by third-party insurance carriers varies by state. Though most complementary therapies are reasonably priced.
Reliable cancer information sites: www.cancer.org, www.cancer.gov, www.cdc.gov.
Trending complementary therapy books:
Knowledge is power. Forewarned is forearmed and so on. Know your risks for breast cancer. Let us not lose more friends, mothers, women.
The author is certified in Advanced Reiki Practice & Crystal Therapy from the renowned John Harvey Gray Center for Reiki Healing, NH. A series of life events made her realize that living mindfully is what brings her the happiness that was so elusive. She has found new purpose in reminding herself and others, each day, to enjoy the journey that is life in the PRESENT MOMENT. It ends far too soon. She grows daily spiritually as she expands her knowledge as an energy healer. She is gratified and humbled by the feedback she receives, the occasional healing miracles she witnesses and just watching her clients leave relaxed; often radiant with joy and new hope.