February is Cancer Prevention Month. Here Are My Top 4 Tips for Preventing Cancer.

EAT TO TREAT...

Most of us have cancer cells in us RIGHT NOW.  For example, by age 70, microscopic cancers are detected in the thyroids of virtually everyone.  Most of these cancer cells never become clinically significant (meaning your immune system is able to fight off and eradicate these cells on it's own and those microscopic cells never cause a problem), however cancer is now the leading cause of mortality worldwide (causing 8.2 million deaths per year).  Many people who have a cancer diagnosis likely had cancer cells growing for years prior to the diagnosis and lifestyle choices potentially fueled the growth over time.   

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Move For Your Health: Yoga in Cancer Care

I spent 7 years working as an oncology nurse practitioner and have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects a cancer diagnosis elicits; for the person facing the diagnosis as well as loved ones.  Learning about any cancer diagnosis is psychologically distressing and the accompanying treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are both physically and mentally arduous.  Side effects following the completion of treatment may leave you frustrated, scared, angry and feeling as if you're a stranger in your own body. As if a tornado picked you up and spit you out, your mind and body whirl in contemplation of past experiences, prognosis, future events and a fight for remission.  That's probably an understatement.  No, definitely an understatement, which is why self-care during and after cancer treatment is crucial to help prevent and better manage treatment related side effects, facilitate healing and help navigate that inevitable emotional rollercoaster.

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Don't be a boob, protect yourself.

As we near the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I noticed this year, like in years past, a crucial component of the awareness movement has been seriously neglected.  While I respect and understand the importance of honoring loved ones, advocating for research and emphasizing the importance of age appropriate cancer screenings (like mammograms), barely any of the #savethetatas messages advocate for cancer PREVENTION. But your life style habits have a DOUBLE DD size impact on your cancer risk. Chance and family history DO NOT drive all cancer risk and we don't need major research breakthroughs to make large gains against cancer.  

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