As October is annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to take the time out of our regular posts here on Angel Road to talk about this important, albeit sensitive topic. Today many of us know one or more people who have or have been effected by cancer. There is such a large range of information out there about breast cancer in particular, and a simple google search can quickly become overwhelming. We wanted to highlight some of the main sources we turn to for tips and facts on breast cancer. While all specific and personal medical questions should be directed to your health care provider, we have gathered a range of sources for additional information from aids for screening for breast cancer, tips for patients and also suggestions on how to be a good friend and caregiver to a cancer patient.
Quick Links and Reference Information
- One website that we turn to is Mount Sinai Hospital for brief and comprehendible information.
- The American Society of Clinical Oncology has a helpful answer guides to common questions about Breast Cancer and treatment.
- Breastcancer.org is a nonprofit site that offers reliable and up to date information.
Screening and Doctors Appointments
The American Cancer Society and ASCO provides the following suggestions for screening for breast cancer.
- Woman should be familiar with their breasts, how they normally look and feel. If you notice any changes you should report them and discuss them with your health care provider right away. Women should make breast self exams a routine starting in their 20s.
- While starting in their 20s women should have Clinical Breast Exams every 3 years throughout their 20s and 30s and then continuing to having Clincal Breast Exams once per year when women surpass the age of 40.
- Starting at age 40 woman should consider yearly mammograms.
- Due to family history, genetics or other factors some woman will elect to use MRI screenings along with mammograms.
- It is important to note that these are simply general tips and the time frame and forms of screening will vary for each and everyone of us. Please refer to your health care provider to set up your personal plan for screening.
Book to Add to your Bookshelf
- The New Generation Breast Cancer Book: How to Navigate Your Diagnosis and Treatment Options – and Remain Optimistic – in an age of Information Overload by Dr. Elisa Port. As the chief of breast cancer surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, Port’s book aims to simplify the search for accurate information.
- Breast Cancer Survival Manual: Fifth Edition by John Link MD. A step-by-step guide for women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, hoping to help woman who are facing treatment feel informed and empowered.
- The Patient’s Playbook: How to Save Your Life and the Lives of Those You Love by Leslie D. Michelson. A guide for what questions to ask and who to ask when you or a family member is going through cancer. Michelson has compiled advise from experts and compelling personal stories.
- How to be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin. We have all been in positions where we don’t know the right way to aid a friend, provide support and be by their side in a way that is best for them. Pogrebin reflects on her personal experience fighting breast cancer and the wide range of response and reactions she got from family and friends. She then expands to include advise from other patients and medical professionals to come up with a comprehensive aid to provide support through these challenging times.
- Want more, we also love the list of books that GOOP curated on the topic of cancer in response to this month being Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Would you Rather Listen than Read?
- Listen to a recent broadcast of NPRs Fresh Air on Treating Breast Cancer with special guest Dr. Elisa Port. Sometimes a whole book on the topic of breast cancer can feel overwhelming, Port’s 30 minute segments updates us on the what we need to know and remember in relation to the treatment of breast cancer.
Nutrition & Lifestyle Tips
- Food and nutrition will not solely prevent, cause or treat breast cancer, but certain foods can aid the health of your body. Read more here.
- Studies have shown that a healthy weight (to be determined with your medical care provider) can at times lower your risk of breast cancer or potentially reduce the possibility of going into remission after treatment. Consider what you eat and also your fitness routine, something as simple as walking for 30 minutes every few days can make a difference in your overall health.
- Some doctors may suggest a low-fat diet where you avoid saturated fats and high cholesterol. To reduce your fat intake, reconsider your typical meal choices. Pick oatmeal instead of a cheese omelet for breakfast. Maybe a tuna wrap for lunch and salmon with vegetables for dinner instead of a hamburger. The high omega 3 acids in salmon can provide healthy fats to your body.
- During the breast cancer treatment process, your main goal will be for your body to be as supportive as possible to the treatment. Treatment effects each patient differently, your appetite may stay the same, increase or diminish. Work to build up reserves of nutrients to help fight off infections, manage side effects of treatment and rebuild your body tissue. To do this it is important to eat enough protein and calories, focusing on regular intake of protein, fruits, and vegetables.
- We can all remember to think twice about what food we put into our bodies, should your reach for the bag of potato chips or the carrots? Healthy nutrition is influenced by everything we put in our body, so when you have a healthy lunch but a less healthy dinner, don’t assume that those two meals will balance each other out. Aim for healthy meals that consist of varied food groups and a range of options.