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How to Keep Your Risk of Getting Breast Cancer Low

Breast Cancer impacts roughly 1 in 8 women in the United States each year, and less than 1% of the male population will develop breast cancer.

This is an unfortunate statistic, more so for women, and many people feel as though breast cancer may be inevitable for them, especially if it runs in their family. Having said that, there are a few factors that can impact an individual’s likelihood that he or she will develop breast cancer in their life, such as their genetics, race, age and gender. Although those factors are unpreventable, there are some steps that individuals can take to lower their risk of developing breast cancer.

What Factors are Out of Your Control?

Unfortunately, there are certain factors that cannot be prevented and are out of the individuals control when it comes to how these things impact one’s health. These things include a person’s age, their gender, their race and the genetic makeup that they naturally have. These factors are things that human beings are born with and things that unfortunately cannot be changed or altered to its core. For example, according to Susan G. Komen, breast cancer deaths equal to about 41,760 in women, whereas deaths in men with breast cancer total around 500. It is an unfortunate fact that, although men are able to develop breast cancer, women are much more prone to getting it during their lifetime. Additionally, research has shown that White and African-American individuals are more likely to develop breast cancer, whereas Hispanic and American Indian individuals are not. When you combine multiple genetic factors, such as DNA or gender, with race and ethnicity, individuals may start to experience a higher likelihood that he or she will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Despite the factors that individuals do not have control over, there are some things that individuals can take into their own hands to ensure that they have the best shot of not getting breast cancer during their lifetime. Of course, these are conscious factors that will need to be altered and/or changed by the individual themselves, requiring a little more effort on their end, but the pay off is great in the end.

What You Can Control

As previously mentioned, there are several factors that individuals can take into their own hands, ultimately controlling their own destiny and health.  The things that people can control includes:

  • Controlling their diet and ensuring that they have a well-balanced diet that lends itself well to a healthy body weight. It is important to note that a healthy diet may look differently for different people, depending on their genetics and how their body processes certain foods. For example, for one individual he or she may need to focus on having a lower carb diet, whereas another may not have the same challenges towards carbs. A general rule of thumb is to have a balanced diet of proteins, carbs and healthy fats, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. It is suggested to seek out help from a dietitian or a doctor to gain a better understanding of what a balanced diet looks like based on individual needs.
  • Getting an appropriate amount of exercise is another way to ensure that individuals are healthy and giving their bodies the best chance of staying cancer free. Similar to diet, exercise routines will vary from person to person, based on their general abilities and capabilities. Each individual should aim for roughly 20-30 minutes of exercise each day at minimum. Exercise regimens include, but are not limited to walking, running, yoga, Pilates, biking, swimming, etc. Before participating in rigorous exercise, an individual should be cleared by a doctor to be able to partake in exercise. Individuals who are unfamiliar with exercise should also consult with their doctor or a physical therapist regarding which type of exercise is right for them.
  • Doctors and health care professionals will always suggest that individuals avoid using tobacco products and alcohol in excess, as it can compromise an otherwise healthy body over time. Avoiding the excess use of tobacco products, whether its cigarettes or otherwise, as well as different types of alcohol can simply give the body the ability to stay healthy and for all of the organs inside the body to run smoothly and do their jobs, giving bodies a chance to fight off any illnesses and hopefully avoid cancers.

It is important to note that doing these things will not guarantee you to be cancer free and avoid breast cancer as a whole. These factors are simply things that individuals can take into their own hands to ensure that they are living the healthiest life that they possibly can, by controlling things that they can. Of course, there are other measures that can be taken to prevent breast cancer, with the help of medical professionals that will take all factors into account, preventable or unpreventable.

If an individual feel like he or she needs to seek out medical advice, they should first meet with their doctor to go over their family history and their environmental or lifestyle factors that can impact their overall risk.  When meeting with a doctor, it is important that the individual is open and honest about their concerns and the risk factors that he or she experiences that can increase their risk of breast cancer. After receiving a full consultation with a medical professional, individuals may have several different options depending on the opinion of the doctor that they are seeing. Options may include BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic testing that can gauge how likely it is for an individual to develop breast cancer in their lifetime based on their genetic makeup. After determining if the individual does or does not have the gene, he or she may seek out additional resources and options from there. Such options include:

  • Risk-lowering drugs, such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, can reduce the risk of women getting breast cancer. These two drugs are the only FDA approved medications and are solely used for women that are at a much higher risk for getting breast cancer than the typical female in society. It is important to note that each of these drugs have side effects and may have to be closely monitored by a medical professional over time to ensure the patient is responding well to the medication.
  • Preventive surgery, commonly referred to as a mastectomy, is seen as perhaps one of the most drastic yet effective preventive measure that an individual can do. During a mastectomy, a woman’s breasts are removed, along with the tissue in the breasts, which can greatly decrease the risk that they will develop breast cancer. However, it is important to note that mastectomies may not be able to remove all of the breast tissue, which can leave a slight risk that an individual can still develop breast cancer. There are also complications that may come along with a mastectomy, such as infection of the wounds or women feeling as though they are less feminine without their breasts. It is important to note that reconstruction surgeries are available to some women who feel as though they would like implants in order to feel like themselves again.

Making these decisions regarding an individual’s health and their bodies can be challenging and overwhelming, leaving them susceptible to feeling as though they do not have many resources available to them during these challenging times. However, there are resources available to people that may need it, especially when they are undergoing surgery or treatment. In-home caregivers can help individuals during their pre-surgery routine, just hours before their surgery, as well as the hours post-surgery and during their recovery period.  There are several services that in-home caregivers can provide to those who are undergoing breast cancer surgeries or treatments such as:

  • Transportation assistance can help individuals get to and from their doctors’ appointments safely and without worry of who will be picking them up after their surgery. By utilizing a caregiver for transportation purposes, an individual will take the uncertainty out of ride sharing programs, as well as the awkwardness of asking others to take care of them.
  • Personal care services are available to those who may need assistance with bathing, going to the bathroom, getting dressed and overall personal hygiene. This is incredibly important in the days post-surgery, as it may be difficult for the individual to get around their home, making using the restroom or getting dressed increasingly more difficult.
  • Light housekeeping services may allow the individual that is recovering form their surgery to feel as though they are living in a tidy and clutter-free home, without having to clean it themselves! Caregivers can maintain the cleanliness of the home and maintain an overall happy and healthy environment for the patient to relax and recover in.
  • Meal preparation is one of the most important aspects of services that an in-home caregiver can provide, especially after a surgery. It is incredibly important that patients take care of themselves post-surgery, including their nutrition! Caregivers can prepare meals that are delicious, nutritious and meet the guidelines of a meal plan set by a nutritionist or a doctor. Caregivers can also go grocery shopping on behalf of their client to ensure that the proper foods are in their home for when they are hungry!
  • After a woman gets a mastectomy, she may or may not have medication that she has to take in order to heal properly after her surgery. During recovery, it is imperative to a have an individual managing medication and ensuring that the patient receives the proper amount of medication, at the proper time. A caregiver can provide medication reminders that will ensure the medication is taken properly and the prescribed prescription care plan is adhered to.

All of the previously aforementioned services are wonderful ways for ensure that a woman recovers from her surgery, or an individual recover during treatment. Of course, during this chaotic and stressful time, the person may simply need someone to be there for them. If their loved ones are not local and cannot be around them, or simply have schedules that cannot allow them to be there, a caregiver could possibly help. Companionship services are incredibly important, and they ensure that the patient is looked after and that they have someone there for them. Caregivers can play games with their clients, plan social visits for them, take them to fun outings and simply be there for them to talk to.

We know that breast cancer is scary, and it may not be completely preventable, but we highly encourage everyone to take matters into their own hands if they are able to do so. We encourage all individuals to seek out the resources available to you to fight breast cancer and be a warrior.

 

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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, women in the U.S. roughly have a 12% chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Checking and feeling your breasts on a regular basis will allow you to spot any early signs of breast cancer development. Treating breast cancer in its early stages greatly increases the likelihood of successful treatment, so take note of any changes to the look and/or feel of your breasts to ensure you’re in good health.

Can Breast Cancer Be Prevented?

Breast cancer prevention is by no means indisputable, but there are some factors that are controllable that a woman can do to lower the risk:

  • Avoid alcohol: Even small amounts have shown an increase in risk
  • Maintain proper body weight
  • Be active
  • Breastfeed
  • Avoid hormone therapy for menopause

 

What Are the Early Signs of Breast Cancer?


While mammograms and screening tests can catch breast cancer before you can find it on your own, the most common breast cancer sign is a new mass or lump in the breast. These lumps may be irregular and painless, or they could be tender and painful, especially to the touch. It’s important to know what your breast looks and feels like, so that you can detect changes that may indicate early signs of breast cancer. Other signs of breast cancer include:

  • Swelling, dimpling of the breast
  • Swelling, dimpling of the nipple
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Skin irritation
  • Nipple Retraction
  • Nipple Discharge (other than breast milk)

The Mayo clinic says that dense breast tissue makes it more difficult for a mammogram to detect breast cancer. Women with dense breasts have an increased risk of cancer. All breasts are made of dense and non-dense tissue. Women who have less fatty breasts have more of the supportive tissues that are considered dense. Dense tissue is white on a mammogram and difficult to see through. Non-dense tissue appears dark and is easier to see through. About 10 percent of women have extremely dense breast tissue.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, with lung cancer being number one. Leading a healthy lifestyle, knowing your risk factors, and getting the proper tests will help you to reduce the probability of getting breast cancer and improve the likelihood of survival if you do contract it.

Be sure to check other areas of your body that appear to be swollen or enlarged, such as the collarbone and armpits. Breast cancer can cause these areas to become swollen well before a tumor in the breast is detectable, so any indication of swelling in your lymph nodes should be acted on immediately. Have any potential signs of breast cancer checked by a health care provider as soon as you can.

 

Spotting signs of breast cancer early on is inconsequential if proper treatment isn’t provided soon after. Symptoms of breast cancer are often disregarded and untreated, allowing the cancer to spread and making the treatment process more difficult. When considering whether a swelling of the breast or a retraction of the nipple is indicative of breast cancer development, always assume the worst. Having your breasts examined by an experienced doctor will provide you with total peace of mind when it comes to your health. Early detection of breast cancer needs to be acted on immediately to prevent the spread of the cancer.

Yes. Though women are more commonly affected, men can get breast cancer. It is rare, but the signs and symptoms are the same because the male breast is composed of the same cells as the female breast.

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When a Loved One is Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

A diagnosis of breast cancer can be a tragic and gut-wrenching experience.

Both the individual diagnosed with breast cancer and his or her support system will feel as though their world has been turned upside down. Feelings of sadness, grief, confusion and anger are all common when it comes to a breast cancer diagnosis. Those feelings should not be discounted or pushed to the side. It is important that you acknowledge your feelings and learn how to react to them in a positive light.

As the support system of someone that has been diagnosed with breast cancer, it is imperative that you know how to be there for them during this time of uncertainty and change. Being there for them can range from physically being able to be with them during their times of need, or it can simply mean emotionally and spiritually being there for them when they need it the most.

 

How To Be There for a Loved one With Breast Cancer

Ways to Protect Your Parents from Feeling Isolated There are several ways you can be there for your loved one that has been diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer.

The most important way you can be there for them is to understand their diagnosis and know what they will need in the future. Understanding a breast ultrasound can allow you to fully comprehend the situation and the risk factors. While medical professionals may not be able to release certain information to you, complying with HIPAA, you can ask them for the basic information you need to understand their diagnosis. This can also allow you to go through the natural cycle of feelings that you will experience when you first learn about a breast cancer diagnosis. It is important to embrace these feelings, acknowledge them and redirect them in a positive way.

After you have come to grips with the reality of the situation, it is important to be there for your loved one. If you are physically able to be there for him or her, dropping by to just say hi may be the perfect way to show them that you are thinking of them and there for them. If he or she would like company, try to talk about or do things that do not have to do with their recent diagnosis. They most likely have been talking about and thinking about breast cancer radiation therapy, so getting their mind off the topic may be just the thing they need. Try playing board games, looking at old photographs or watching a movie he or she will enjoy. Being there for your loved one during this time does not have to be exclusive to just speaking about breast cancer. Sometimes all your loved one will need is just a friend to treat them as they would if they did not have cancer.

If your loved one has recently undergone a mastectomy, it is important to remember that he or she is likely in a lot of physical and emotional pain. Being there for them will vary depending on your loved one’s situation and condition. During the post-mastectomy recovery period, everyone will recover at a different pace and will have different needs as they recuperate. If you are unsure of whether your loved one is up for visitors, phone calls or video chats, it is important to ask the person that may be closest to them during this time. If they are up for visits or calls, try to keep them brief and light hearted. They will also likely be in a lot of pain, so it is important to go into the visit understanding that their mood may not be normal. Preparing yourself before hand can help you get in the right mindset to make the visit as smooth as possible. During your visit, feel free to bring the family things that may make their life a little easier during a hectic time, such as prepped meals or new magazines or books to keep them busy. Other items that the family and your loved one may appreciate are loose tops that will not aggravate the surgical site and comfortable blankets during their times of lounging.

If your loved one is not feeling up for visitors or having social visits, remember that it is a hectic and trying time for them. Knowing that you are unable to see your loved one can be hurtful and upsetting, but it is imperative to remember that they are healing and the best way you can help them heal is by giving them the space they ask for. In the meantime, you can still be there for them in different ways! Sending them a handwritten note or card will let them know that you are thinking of them and have them in your thoughts or prayers. You can also send flowers, get well soon baskets or stuffed animals to cheer them up!

Remember that your loved one may be feeling very sensitive during this time. Whether it is a woman who just lost her breasts due to a mastectomy or a man that is experiencing breast cancer for the first time, emotions will be running high. It is imperative to remember that they will be feeling all the same feelings that you did, but they may be more extreme or intense. Keep that in mind when you seek to comfort your friend in whichever way that you choose to.

Ultimately, being diagnosed with breast cancer cells is a life altering experience.

Being there for them may seem challenging and difficult at first, but it is important to remember that they are still the same person that they were before the diagnosis and your bond will not change.

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How You Can Use Your Voice in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a well-known disease that impacts millions of people on daily basis.

If you or your loved ones have suffered from breast cancer, you likely have felt the need to make a lasting impact on the fight against breast cancer. Advocating for breast cancer patients and using your voice to spread awareness can help drive mindfulness around the disease. However, it is equally important to note that if you have not been touched by breast cancer or have a loved one impacted, you can still use your voice in the fight against breast cancer.

Why Your Voice Makes a Difference

Even though you may not be currently directly impacted by breast cancer, that does not mean that you cannot use your voice to make a difference. There are multiple ways that you fight against breast cancer including performing a self-exam and encouraging others to do so as well, talking to your doctor about the risks of breast cancer and speaking with your family about the magnitude of breast cancer, as well as the likelihood you will develop it.

Using your voice to advocate for breast cancer awareness can help you and your loved ones stay proactive about your health and allows you to take your well-being into your own hands. Using your voice to be a part of a bigger movement can be both emotionally and physically fulfilling in the long run.

Speaking with Your Family About Breast Cancer

It is extremely important to speak with your family about the significance of breast cancer, so you can learn if it runs in your family. Getting an idea of your family medical history allows you to take the necessary steps you need to protect yourself. For example, if you have an aunt that had breast cancer, it is possible you can qualify for genetic testing. These tests can pick up on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene that you may have inherited from your family members. Knowing this information and sharing it with your medical professionals can help you create a plan with your health in mind.

It is incredibly important to speak with your family regarding self-examinations and the frequency in which they practice self-exams. Encouraging your family members, male or female, to perform regular self-exams in the shower can help detect breast cancer in its earliest forms. Support can allow individuals to feel empowered and motivated to make changes and be consistent with a routine.

Remember to encourage them to speak with their doctor if they feel or see any abnormalities in their breasts!

Speak Up with Your Doctor!

It is important that you get into a regular cadence of going to your doctor for your annual exams. Doing so will allow your doctor to exam your body and look for abnormalities, such as lumps in your breasts. During your annual exams, it is imperative that you speak with your doctor about the self-exams that you are performing, any changes you have experienced since you saw them last and how you can take the necessary precautions to remain as healthy as possible. Your doctors’ appointments should be a safe haven for you to be able to address any concerns that you have regarding your breasts or overall general health. Do not be afraid to bring something to your doctor’s attention! Speaking up now could help save your life in the long run.

Use Your Voice for the Voiceless

 

American Cancer Society has hundreds of ways for you to get involved in your local community by giving back to those who are affected by breast cancer. Whether it is volunteering for a local walk, signing a legislative petition or raising money with friends and family, using your voice counts! By advocating for those impacted by breast cancer, you are helping families and individuals more than you know. Finding ways to get involved and supporting those who need it most mean more to them than you may ever know.

 

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Why Home Care Is Necessary after Breast Cancer Treatment

Caregiver exchanging smiles with woman in wheelchair
A cancer diagnosis is devastating. No matter the type of prognosis, it takes time to process.

During this difficult time, family and loved ones rally around the one suffering as they review options and begin a treatment plan. With so many different treatments available, recovery is often possible in the United States. For seniors, cancer is terrifying. Due to their aging immune systems, it can be harder to reach a full recovery. Following treatment, seniors may require additional assistance. In-home care in Walnut Creek is an important part of recovery following a breast cancer diagnosis. With their help, the senior that you love can obtain breast cancer home care and receive the help that they need within the comfort of their own home.

Better Rest

There is no better place for your loved one to recover than within the walls of their own home. After all, it’s where they are most comfortable. Following a cancer treatment, there are various steps that need to be taken to ensure their health. While you could opt for a rehabilitation center, why not allow your loved one to recover from treatment in the place that they love? By hiring in-home specialists, seniors can enjoy the same quality of care that they would receive in a hospital or clinic, without having to step foot out of the house. This allows them to recover and rest comfortably surrounded by the things that make them happy.

Easier Transition

In some cases, cancer treatments take place in a hospital. Oftentimes, seniors have spent weeks or months within the confines of a small room while receiving treatment. Once treatment is over, it’s difficult for them to transition back into their home life. They may not have the energy to keep up with the same day-to-day tasks that they did before. Instead of struggling to care for themselves, hire an in-home care specialist to help. These home health services offer more than just routine medical care. They can also provide basic cleaning and cooking services, too. This allows your loved one to transition more easily into everyday life with the help of a qualified professional after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Individualized Care

Your loved one’s cancer plan was tailored to fit their breast cancer diagnosis. Whether they underwent breast cancer screening, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, or a combination of these methods, the individualized care shouldn’t stop with the treatment. Recovery should be just as personal. An in-home healthcare service can help meet this need.

Based on the recommendations and regimens dictated by your loved one’s physicians, your in-home healthcare specialists will create a plan that is specific to their needs.

Less Burn-Out

Chances are your loved one’s diagnosis with breast cancer has taken its toll on you as well. You may feel emotionally and physically drained from the multiple treatments and care that have been required. It’s normal for caretakers to begin to feel burnt out, especially after cancer treatment. With so much uncertainty surrounding the disease, exhaustion is inevitable. Instead of handling all of the care yourself, it’s time to enlist the help of professionals. An in-home medical care service is a great way to give you peace of mind and reduce some of your burden. Their specialized services can provide multi-faceted care to meet your loved one’s needs. Prescription administration, monitoring, physical therapy, and other medical needs can all be taken care of with the help of licensed medical professionals, in-home. By taking over the recovery and treatment aspect of your loved one, you’re free to focus on other things—leaving you more rejuvenated.

Hospice Services

Nurse with SeniorIn some cases, the cancer prognosis is dire. In these situations, it’s more important to make the patient feel comfortable and happy than seek a treatment to the cancer. Seniors, especially, deserve to be home during this time. When the days are limited, they shouldn’t be confined to a hospital for treatment. Instead, home healthcare can offer a comfortable alternative. With the help of an in-home service, pain and other symptoms can be managed without the need of a clinic or facility. Seniors can live out the remainder of their time in an environment that they love surrounded by those who mean the most to them.

A cancer diagnosis is devastating. With senior home care in Walnut Creek, the treatment and care doesn’t have to be. No matter what the prognosis is, hire an in-home healthcare service to help make recovery and rest more enjoyable for your loved one and cancer patient.

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Breast Cancer Self-Exams: How and Why?


Both men and women are susceptible to developing breast cancer.

Performing self-exams are an imperative step in detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages. On top of going to your annual mammogram, performing a self-exam in the shower monthly, will allow you to get in tune with your body and pick up any irregularities. If you detect an irregularity, bump or lump it is critical to contact your medical professional immediately.

How to Perform a Self-Exam

Place your left hand on hip and reach with right hand to feel in the left armpit. Repeat on the other side. 

Feel for lumps above and below your collar bone.

Raise your left arm behind your head and use your fingers from the right hand to press gently into the left breast and nipple. Follow an up and down pattern, moving from just under your breast to the top of your collar bone.

Gentle squeeze your nipples to check for any bleeding or discharge.

If you detect something abnormal or out of place during your monthly self-exam, it is best to write down what exactly you felt and call a medical professional right away.

Your doctor can speak with you about next steps.

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Who is at Risk for Developing Breast Cancer?

One of the most common misconceptions about breast cancer is that 100% of individuals with this disease are women.

Although most breast cancers are in women over the age of 50, men are also at risk for developing breast cancer. The topic may seem taboo and uncommon but self-exams can help men catch any lumps, bumps or irregularities in their breasts.

What Are Some Risk Factors?

There are several risk factors that can increase the chances an individual will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. The following risk factors range between preventable measures and genetic makeup that is inevitable. Risk factors include but are not limited to:

  • Family history and genetic mutations. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that can live in your body and can increase the chances you will develop breast cancer and possibly ovarian cancer.
  • Aging can cause your body to undo many changes. Since most forms of breast cancer are found in women over the age of 50, aging can be a catalyst of breast cancer.
  • Being a late bloomer when it comes to pregnancy or menopause. If you have a child at a later age in life or you are older than the average woman when you go through menopause, your hormones may cause you to have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  • If you have been on an oral contraceptive for several years. Certain oral contraceptives have been linked to developing breast cancer.
  • Drinking alcohol and smoking increases the chances of an individual developing breast cancer.
  • Having natural dense breasts can increase chances of developing breast cancer, as they will have more connective tissue than fatty tissue.

It is advised to speak with your doctor regarding specific risks of developing breast cancer. Your medical professional will be able to asses your risk factors based on your lifestyle and daily activity.

How Can You Reduce Your Risks?

It is advised to speak with your medical professional regarding the risks that you have to develop breast cancer, as they can vary from person to person based on lifestyle choices. However, there are general guidelines you can use to live a healthier and happier life, while reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. These include but are not limited to:

  • Look into genetic testing if breast cancer runs in your family. Whether you are male or female, it is important to inquire about your family history. If you qualify for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic testing, it is advised you speak with a medical professional to acquire the test.
  • Keep your weight in check. Maintaining a healthy weight can keep you healthy and decrease your chances of developing illness or disease, including breast cancer.
  • Get physical! By staying physically active, the risk of developing a disease or illness is decreased. It is important to speak to your doctor before participating in exercise and to learn the proper form and technique of the exercises before executing them.
  • Eat a balanced diet. It is advised that you eat the proper nutrients your body needs in order to be fueled and thrive. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting the amount of processed food you eat will keep your body healthy and ward off disease and illnesses.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol in excess. It is important that all aspects of your life, beyond diet and exercise, reflect a healthy and balanced mindset. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol in excess to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • One of the most important things an individual can do to fight of the risk of developing breast cancer is to visit the doctor regularly. This includes your general practitioner, your gynecologist, your dentist, etc. Your mammograms, physicals and yearly exams are an imperative part of keeping yourself healthy.

 

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What is Breast Cancer and How Does It Affect You?

Breast cancer can be defined as a group of cancer cells that forms in the cells of a breast.

When the cells grow out of control, breast cancer starts to develop and rapidly grow in the body. Breast cancer is mostly found in women, but it is important to note that it can rarely be found in men. According to Susan G. Komen, about 40,920 women and 480 men will succumb to breast cancer in 2018.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

 
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer will vary from person to person but will generally involve a lump or bump in the breast. The breasts may become tender, swollen and painful to the touch. Nipple discharge has also been reported as a symptom of breast cancer, along with redness or swollen lymph nodes. If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of breast cancer, contact your doctor immediately.

Are You at Risk for Breast Cancer?

 
It is important to first and foremost note that breast cancer can develop in both men and women. Although the risk of men developing breast cancer is significantly lower than women, they do have a 1 in 1,000 chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.

For women, the risks of developing breast cancer include age and being a female. There are several risk factors for breast cancer for women to take note of including but not limited to: age, family history, lifestyle and menstrual periods.

It is imperative to speak with your medical professionals about the risks that you have as an individual to develop breast cancer, as it will vary from person to person. Your doctor can also put together a plan of action specifically for individual risk factors and how to negate them.

How You Can Be an Advocate in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

 

Fighting against breast cancer is not limited to those who are medically diagnosed with breast cancer. As an advocate for breast cancer and breast cancer awareness, your voice can make a huge difference in the world. Advocating for those in the fight against breast cancer can include participating in local fundraising initiatives, talking with friends and family about the importance of self-examination and speaking with your doctor if you find something abnormal in your breast tissue. Speaking up can help save lives down the road.

The Importance of Self-Examination

 
Self-exams are an important preventative measure that you should be performing on a monthly cadence. Performing a self-exam in the shower can help you stay in tune with your body, how you are feeling and the health of your breast tissue. Both men and women should aim to perform a self-exam properly and accurately each month

 

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How to Be There for a Loved One with Cancer

If your loved one was recently diagnosed with cancer, you may be wondering how you can support him or her. It may seem natural to pull away, as you are working through your own feelings, or feel the need to overcompensate your affection for them due to their recent diagnosis. When someone you loved is diagnosed with cancer, you are thrown into a path of unknown and uncertain territory. It is important to continue to be there for your loved one in the best way possible in the given situation. The following tips can help you maintain a healthy relationship with your loved one, while respecting their boundaries in the wake of their diagnoses.

The first thing that you should do is gather your thoughts and emotions and allow yourself to cope properly. The way we cope varies from person to person, but we encourage you to find a healthy, creative outlet to channel your emotions. As soon as you can gather your thoughts and have a clear mind, you should start to research the diagnosis that your loved one received. This information can come from research that you conduct on your own, your loved one’s doctors or someone that you know that has gone through this situation. By learning more about the cancer, they have been diagnosed with, you can prepare yourself for what is to come, what they may be feeling and how this diagnosis impacts their life. This will help you put yourself in their shoes and try to see the situation from their perspective. What are they likely feeling right now? Are you able to help them in this moment?

The next thing that you can do is treat your loved one as normal as possible unless, of course, he or she has limited physical or mental abilities due to their recent diagnosis. Many cancer patients feel as though their friends and family start to treat them as a project or tend to act differently towards them after they have been diagnosed. You should continue to visit them, speak to them and make plans with them just as you have always done. This will allow your loved one to feel as though they have some normalcy in this otherwise chaotic and overwhelming time in their life.

The best thing that you can do for your loved one during this time is to be there for them physically, emotionally and spiritually. Express your feelings and tell them how much they mean to you, as this will make them feel loved and appreciated. You should also convey to them that they are in your thoughts or prayers during this difficult time in their life. Offering a safe haven to vent, a space to just reflect upon life or to simply be together will allow your loved one to feel as though their cancer diagnosis is not taking the spirit out of their life.

If your loved one is starting to worry about how they will keep up with the day to day maintenance of running a household after their cancer diagnosis, consider hiring an in-home caregiver for them. Caregivers can do light housekeeping that he or she may not be up for, prepare meals for them or simply take them to their doctors’ appointments. An in-home caregiver can be a companion that will be there to watch over them. We hope that you will continue to be there for your loved one during this hard time. Remember that this is a sad and unfamiliar time for you, but it is even more so for them. Try to be there for them as a shoulder to cry on, a friend to have fun with and a support system.

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