What You Can Do at Home to Help Prevent Breast Cancer
I sit and think about breast cancer and its impact on families in the U.S. and can hardly breathe for the immensity of it. It's pervasive, it's killing our country's women. And it's probably going to happen to more than a handful of my friends and family in my lifetime.
Breast cancer has probably affected you directly or indirectly, hasn't it? It invaded my life when I was in high school in the 90's and one of my mother's closest friends passed away suddenly after we all had been elated at the news that her double mastectomy was successful. She was 45, had a young son and a loving husband and had just started the best years of her life.
You may think this is an issues everyone has been talking about, or that it's some cliche thing to be talking about breast cancer again. But have you really paused and thought about the people, the families, the lives behind this disease?
It's so easy in our technology-driven lives to skim, to click away, to get bored and move onto the next thing. But take in these facts for a moment:
- In 2010, over 200,000 women in the U.S. have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and nearly 40,000 women have died from the disease.
- Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women today.
- When breast cancer is found early (within the breast), the chance for survival is the greatest.
So what can we do about it? There are the organizations doing research, there are the charities walking to raise money for more research. But what can we, everyday moms and women, do about this?
I think the first place to start is in our own homes. With our own bodies.
Making small changes in our everyday lives really and truly CAN change our health. It puts us on a different trajectory in life, and suddenly we're on a path to health instead of disease. Do you know the easy things you can do to help your body to heal instead of get sick?
1. Mind Your Mind - the only one who can help you take care of your mental health is you. I realize there are professionals out there who care for the more serious problems - what I'm talking about is keeping your heart and mind on the things that matter. Investing in close relationships, de-stressing your life in an intentional way, and learning how to "not sweat the small stuff". There simply cannot be enough said about the close correlation between a stressful life and disease. There's so much out of our control, but this part? This caring for your heart and soul? This is something you CAN be in control of, and it's worth your time to try.
2. Walk The Walk - Getting outside and walking isn't just great exercise, even though simply walking a few times a week can change your weight and health too. It's also the fresh air, the nutrients from the sun, and even the mental boost we get from being out of the house or away from the office that promotes healthier living.
3. You Are What You Eat - Look at your family tree and if the disease in your ancestry worries you - it should. Your likelihood for cancer and other diseases is increased exponentially when you have these diseases in your family. If women in your family have had breast cancer - take that warning for yourself seriously. Change your diet, even in just the smallest way, by working in more fruits and vegetables, limiting sugar and processed food, and avoiding the fast food drive-in altogether.
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