As we all know, October is breast cancer awareness month. However, as one friend posted on Facebook, every month should be awareness month because people are diagnosed with breast cancer, and other cancers, every day of every month.
We also know that there are no guarantees in the prevention of cancer, and if you lead an idealistically healthy life, you may still develop cancer. However, when your body is healthy it will fight the disease better and may even delay diagnosis so that you have more worry free years.
This month, I will be breaking down this blog into prevention of breast cancer, complimentary therapy during cancer treatment and healthy living in survivorship. If you want an incredible reference, purchase 101 Things You Should Know About Breast Cancer by Pam Schmid (find at www.pamshmid.com). Pam tells her story of a lifetime of health and fitness, her career of choice even, and her journey with Breast Cancer and now metastatic disease. She provides the facts, not the theories, and the choices we can all make to be healthier at various stages of cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. She goes into more depth on more topics than I will with my blogs, so her book is a great reference for anyone going through treatment or who is a survivor or if you know anyone who is or has undergone treatment for breast cancer. It’s actually a good reference for most types of cancer.
Prevention, what can we do? It’s amazingly simple and complex at the same time. The choices we make every day on what and when we eat and whether or not we move our body impact our chances of being diagnosed with cancer and how we will respond during treatment IF we are diagnosed. According to the American Cancer Society, our physical activity and eating habits could reduce cancer mortality in the United States by as much as one-third! That’s dramatic!
What to choose:
- Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans minimal recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity EACH week of physical activity. Is 30 minutes too much time to invest in reducing your cancer risk? (yes or no?)
- Limit sedentary activity even if you’re active.
- Aim to move more than the recommended minimum.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Forego the fads which aim to achieve healthy weight, but will not enable you to maintain a healthy weight. You may have to put in a little effort here, and you are worth the effort.
- Limit consumption of processed meats and animal proteins.
- Eat at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and fruits daily. Choose a rainbow of colors as the variety of colors provides a variety of rich anti-oxidant rich nutrients.
- Choose whole grains vs. refined grains. Less processing is less exposure to chemicals.
- Choose food instead of pills. Supplements may be organic, natural, or even vegetarian, but they are still pills and except for fish oil, the research on supplements overwhelmingly shows that the pill form of nutrients does not produce the same health benefits as we get from eating the foods rich in nutrients. Although there may be cause to supplement our food choices, refrain from replacing food.
- Limit alcoholic beverages, if you drink.
What will you choose today to improve your mortality risk of cancer?
Check out our workshops throughout October for hands on information on nutrition, lifestyle, yoga, pilates, and Qi Gong with an emphasis on various stages of prevention and treatment of breast cancer.