Breast Cancer Information

Keeping abreast of breast cancer information

Keeping abreast of breast cancer information

""Hope" is the thing with feathers--
That perches in the soul--
And sings the tune without the words--
And never stops--at all--"

~Emily Dickinson

“You have breast cancer” is one of the scariest phrases anyone can hear. New breast cancer diagnoses will affect more than 192,000 women and even 1,910 men this year according to the American Cancer society’s 2009 estimates.1 Not only does it deeply affect those who have received the diagnosis, but the patient’s spouse, children, friends, and other loved ones can also feel like victims of cancer. Going through cancer treatment can be confusing, depressing and very taxing on the body. Loved ones caring for cancer patients often go through the same trials.

So what can we do to gather our collective strength and fight cancer? First off, we need to embrace the idea that knowledge is power and one important way to disseminate information is to observe breast cancer awareness month in October. It reminds women to get their annual mammograms scheduled and perhaps reminds all of us to recommit to as healthy a lifestyle as possible. It also draws National and International attention, which can help fuel much-needed research and development of new treatments. And let’s not forget that there is positive news on the horizon. Mortality rates from breast cancer have decreased due to better medical understanding, early detection and vastly improved treatment options. Also, bad habits that are considered risk factors for cancer, like smoking, is down in the U.S. According to the Gallup poll, only one in five Americans are smoking , down from about 28% at the beginning of the decade.2

Additionally, people are learning what proactive things they can do to help lessen their chances of getting cancer. 3 Exercising regularly , eating a balanced diet of low fat foods, quitting smoking, watching alcohol intake and controlling stress levels are all thought to contribute to fewer instances of different kinds of cancer including breast cancer. And even if there is a diagnosis of cancer, if one is in the best physical health possible, it will ensure the best chance of conquering the disease and experiencing renewed longevity.

However, it is easy to get discouraged and feel powerless when cancer has touched you or a loved one’s life. One of the best ways to face the myriad challenges cancer can cause is to become proactive in some way. If possible, get involved with an organization or encourage others to participate. Make a donation in your name or a loved one’s name. If you are caring for a loved one with cancer, joining one of the many organizations fighting to improve cancer patient’s lives can be very empowering. Write your Congressman to prevent same-day hospital release of mastectomy patients, or encourage your company to match charitable funds donated for research. These are little ways you can contribute that will make a big difference in many people’s lives who have cancer. There are also support groups for cancer patients and their caregivers that offer tremendous emotional support and are more than worth the time invested.

Remember that hope is paramount. Collectively, we can make a difference, and one day live in a cancer-free world.

References

1 American Cancer Society. "How many women get breast cancer." Article (http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_2_1X_How_many_people_get_breast_cancer_5.asp?sitearea=), September 29, 2009.

2 Gallup.com. "US Smoking Rate Still Coming Down." Article (http://www.gallup.com/poll/109048/US-Smoking-Rate-Still-Coming-Down.aspx), July 24, 2008.

3 American Cancer Society."What causes breast cancer?" Article: (http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_2_2X_What_causes_breast_cancer_5.asp?rnav=cri), September 29, 2009.

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