Posted on

Breast Cancer And Dense Breasts

It’s that time of the year again where you see pink ribbons cropping up everywhere, on blouses, shirts and even on cars. When you see that you know it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you have not scheduled your mammogram yet, you should do that now. By the way, doctors recommend that women begin having mammograms at age 40 and continue up to age 75. Opinions are mixed as to the frequency of testing for older women, so if you are over 70 you should consult with your doctor.

The first time a friend told me she had dense breasts, I immediately thought it was another way of saying she had large breasts. However, she went on to tell me that because her mammogram showed she had dense breasts, it was difficult to detect whether she had cancerous lumps or not. I was concerned. What if she had cancer and it could not be detected? Fortunately, further screening revealed no sign of cancer.

So, what are dense breasts? According to the Mayo Clinic, “dense breast tissue appears as a solid white area on a mammogram,” which resembles cancerous tissue, making it more difficult to detect. All women have dense breast tissue, but if your mammogram shows you have dense breasts, it means you have more dense breast tissue than fatty tissue. Women with non-dense breasts, on the other hand, have more fatty tissue than dense tissue. The Mayo Clinic report says that half of women undergoing mammograms have dense breasts.

My friend who was told she had dense breasts is also large-breasted, but dense breasts are not necessarily large. In fact, large breasts contain more fatty tissue or are less dense than smaller breasts. Also, the younger you are and the less you weigh, the greater your chances of having dense breasts. This is one occasion where your heavier sisters may be better off. However, regardless of size and density of your breasts, exercise can help shed chest fat and strengthen the muscles to reduce their size. Women who use hormone replacement therapy are also likely to have dense breasts.

Breast cancer is something we all want to avoid, this is why the National Breast Cancer Foundation carries out this annual campaign to remind us to take the necessary steps to help us avoid falling prey to this dreaded disease. Large breasts are not necessarily dense breasts. Women with less body mass are more likely to have dense breasts, which make it harder to detect cancer. If cancer runs in your family, you are even at a greater risk. Schedule your annual check-up now if you haven’t done so already.

Posted on

How To Live After Breast Cancer

Your treatments are over and you are feeling a great sense of relief, as you should. You made it. Give yourself a high-five, but it’s not yet time to relax. You want to feel well and at the same time try to avoid that cancer returning. Some of the same guidelines you followed before your diagnosis still apply.

Here are some things you can do:

1. Keep all of your follow-up appointments. Now is not the time to slack off. It’s important to stay close to your doctors so they can monitor you and you can tell them about any concerns you may have. They may also want to order some tests.

2. Eat right. Proper nutrition will not only help to prevent your cancer returning, but it will prevent obesity which leads to heart disease and other conditions.

3. Exercise. Increasing your physical activity will help you reduce body fat and boost your energy level.

4. Quit smoking. This can’t be stressed enough. Smoking accounts for about 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States. If you need help kicking this habit, speak to your doctor.

5. Stay connected. Keeping up with your groups will give you the encouragement and support you need. Also, it helps when you reach out to others and share your story with them.

6. Live one day at a time. During your treatment, you may have put certain activities you once enjoyed on hold. Now you are anxious to get back to a normal routine, but nothing feels normal any more. What do you do? Take it one day at a time. Enjoy your family, your friends. Let them know you love and appreciate them. Take time to smell the roses – literally – read a book, listen to music and be thankful. You are still here.

If you need help in getting your life back on track following cancer, or if you are simply trying to meet your healthcare goals, why not fill in the form below for a free coaching session?

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

Posted on

Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

Courtesy morguefile
If you are a woman in the United States today, your chance of getting breast cancer is 1 in 8, according to the most recent report published annually by the National Cancer Institute’s [NCI] Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results [SEER] Program. Looked at another way, the chance that you will never have cancer is 87.6 percent or 7 out of 8. That’s good news, isn’t it? But your chances of getting cancer increase as you get older, although the risk varies from woman to woman.

So, apart from age, let’s look at other factors that impact your chance of getting breast cancer.

1. Family history – If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, you are likely to get it. Another pertinent fact according to SEER: if you have a male relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk increases.
2. Breast density – Women who have dense breast tissue are more prone to breast cancer than those who don’t.
3. Breast cancer – If you have had breast cancer once, you are likely to get it again.
4. Alcohol – increases your risk of breast cancer
5. Reproductive and menstrual history – early menstrual onset and late onset of menopause – after age 55 – and not having children are all risks for breast cancer.
6. Obesity – carries with it an increased risk.
7. Hormone therapy – postmenopausal women who use combined estrogen and progestin for more than five years increase their risk of getting breast cancer.
8. Race – Caucasian women in the US have a higher incidence of breast cancer than women of other races.
9. Physical activity – Women who are physically inactive increase their risk of breast cancer.
If you have never had breast cancer, it is very likely you know someone who has, and this is why I’m focusing on it this month in an effort to help you help yourself or someone else. As you can see, many of these risk factors are outside our control, however we can and should do everything in our power to prevent ourselves succumbing to this horrible disease. Read my previous post for some pointers on what you can do. In my next post, I’ll go more in depth.
Until then, stay healthy.

From now until the end of the month, I’m offering four of these pink ribbon and hearts bangles free of cost to four women when you sign up for my mailing list. This beautiful bangle will brighten your day and contribute to the fight against cancer. Just fill in your information in the box below and in the comments section state why you would like to have one of these bangles. Four women will be chosen to receive one of these bangles free of cost. God bless you.[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

Posted on

Cancer Awareness Month – No Bra Day

As you all know, the month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this just happens to be the month I have my annual mammogram. So, you guessed it. I had mine done this morning. Never a pleasant experience, but I do it dutifully because I know it can help save my life. Last year, one of my dear friends was diagnosed with breast cancer, but, thank God, she is okay now.

So, there are a few things you can do right now to help stave off cancer:

1. Make sure you get your mammogram this month if you have not done so already.
2. Follow a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber.
3. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Just walking will do.
4. Limit the use of alcohol. Quit smoking
5. Pay it forward. Support breast cancer patients, donate to worthy causes and do whatever you can to help those who need it.

In case you’re wondering about the picture above, it is taken from a post by the National Day Calendar on Breast Cancer Awareness. According to the calendar, today is National No Bra Day, and here’s why. So if after reading you choose to go without a bra, that’s up to you. I’m not taking my support that far. No pun intended.

When you fill in the form below, you will be entered into my mailing list where you can receive up-to-date health news and free offers. [contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]