Think Pink. Live Healthy.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
In 2005 my story began. I was a senior in college. I was young, feeling accomplished, I thought I had everything planned, I thought I knew exactly where I was going and wanted to go. Then I found out my mom had breast cancer. My mom, what? Was I hearing this right? How could this be happening? I couldn’t believe my mom, someone young, healthy, athletic, could have cancer. I didn’t know much about cancer at this point in my life, I didn’t know what was going to happen. The only think I knew was everything was going to change. Whatever you have planned comes to a halt and taking care of that person is priority number one. Hearing that someone you love is sick and has to have chemotherapy, will lose all their hair, and have major surgery is so scary there are no words. I kept thinking how did this happen? How could it be prevented? Selfishly I thought could this be me in five, ten, twenty years? Thoughts just race through your mind.
One of the worst things a person can hear from someone they love is “I have something to tell you. I’m sick… I have cancer.”
Everyone will tell you; “things will be okay”, “you will get through this”, “she is a fighter”, “she’s strong”, “tomorrow is another day”…. Etc.
Until you have gone through weeks and months of chemotherapy with a loved one and radiation you do not know if things will be okay, if you will get through this. You do know that person is strong, a fighter and tomorrow is another day to get through, to not cry and to be strong for those around you.
Approximately 226,000 grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, friends are diagnosed each year with breast cancer… it seems everywhere you turn these days you find someone else that has a similar story to yours.
Breast cancer among women is the number one cancer in the United States. Every 3 minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with Breast Cancer and every 13 minutes a woman loses her battle with that very same disease. There are so many organizations, foundations, fundraisers and individuals out there that are raising awareness and raising funds for research to find a cure. The American Cancer Society Making Strides against Breast Cancer has many walks going on this month all over the country. Go to www.makingstrideswalk.org to find a walk near you or donate. Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure, also has events going on this month and throughout the year, visit http://ww5.komen.org/ to find a race near you. A local organization, for me, is Gloria Gemma in Rhode Island. This weekend, October 12th & 13th The Flames of Hope: A Celebration of life event will be taking place. As is the ARS Pink Party, tickets are $40, you can purchase them online at https://ggbcrf33302.thankyou4caring.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=300.
These are just a few of the amazing organizations out there that are doing so much in the fight against breast cancer. Don’t just get involved this month because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; get involved throughout the year with different events all over the country. It’s a work out for a great cause, a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and do some good, and or a celebration of life, of survivors and those that have been lost.
There are a lot of different preventative measures, however there is nothing that you can do that will prevent someone from getting cancer and there really is no cure.
What can you do?
1) Exercise: 10-19 hours per week. This can lower your risk by 30%
Yoga: Doing yoga has been the only time my mind has ever stopped racing, it puts you at ease and releases stress… Namaste!
Run, Walk, Jog: Listen to you IPOD running hit list or find one online and hit the streets, beach, trails or that treadmill at the gym.
2) Drink Less Alcoholic beverages
If you have 3+ more alcoholic drinks per week vs. someone who has none you increase your chances by 15%
3) Be aware of your environment
In an article posted by Rich Eldred on the Wicked Local Eastham website, October 4th, 2013 he reports that on Cape Cod Breast Cancer cases are 20% above the national average do to contaminates in the ground water. Read more at Wicked Local Eastham
20 – 25% is genetic while the rest is environmental causes (Dr. Jim Erban at Tufts Cancer Center)
4) Know the signs: if something seems out of the normal for you let your doctor know
5) Be your own advocate: know your risk/ family history, get screened, no your body and what is normal for you, make healthy living decisions for yourself (1-3).
Hydration: drinking enough water is essential to your health. Not drinking enough can lead to poor health and dehydration. So if you are exercising 10-19 hours per week or more you should make sure you’re replenishing your body. The following are ways to keep your body hydrated:
“Drink a lot. Water, pasteurized 100% fruit juices, milk, and low-sodium broth are good choices for staying hydrated while you're in treatment. If you're also trying to lose weight, keep in mind that juices have a lot of sugar and calories. You may want to drink water or seltzer instead (seltzer usually has no salt; club soda usually does).” www.Breastcancer.org
“Eat foods with high water content. Liquid in your solid food counts toward your daily total. Some fruits and vegetables are more than 90% water. Cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, watermelon, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, sweet peppers, radishes, spinach, zucchini, and tomatoes are all at least 90% water. Low-sodium soups, popsicles, water ice, and gelatins are also high in water”.- www.breastcancer.org
“Keep a glass of water close to you during the day and night to remind you to drink it”.- www.breastcancer.org
2) Herbal Teas instead of caffeinated teas
“Drink caffeine in moderation. Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, colas, and some root beers, will increase your water intake. But caffeine acts as a diuretic, so it flushes water out of your system more than other drinks without caffeine. Don't rely on caffeinated beverages as your only source of water.” www.breastcancer.org
3) Nonfat Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, etc
4) Diluted fruit juice
“Add some citrus to your water. If you don't like drinking plain water, try adding lime, lemon, or orange slices to your water. You can also pour in a splash of fruit juice. Or try drinking carbonated water (known as club soda, seltzer, and fizzy water). Look for a brand WITHOUT added sugar or sodium.”- www.breastcancer.org
There isn’t a whole lot you can do to make sure, 100%, that you or a loved one won’t get breast cancer. There are prevenative measures you can take to better your chances however, and those have been listed in this blog. So take care of yourself; eat right, exercise, be aware of your environment, know your family history and speak up to a doctor if something seems abnormal to you. You can save yourself with early detection, so don’t hesitate, see a doctor… all he/she is going to say is; “Its nothing” or “we got this ahead of time, let’s make a plan”.
When it comes to those who have been there…
The best thing a person you love, who’s been diagnosed with cancer, can say is…
“I’m a survivor!”
“I’m in remission!”