October Is Breast Cancer Month

Four years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancerous tumor could not be felt by me or my gynecologist or the surgeon who performed my mastectomy. My film mammogram and my ultra sound were inconclusive, but I had a radiologist that wouldn?t stop. The tumor finally showed up on a diagnostic mammogram. It was difficult to see and impossible to feel because the tumor was in the back of my breast close to the chest wall. I am one of those very fortunate women who have not become a statistic. Over 40,000 women die every year from breast cancer. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths of women in the United States. (Lung cancer is first.) While there are no guarantees in life, there are measures to take to give you an edge.

There are two types of screening mammograms: digital and film. Get a yearly digital mammogram. They are more definitive than a film mammogram. A digital mammogram takes an electronic image of the breast and stores it on a computer. Images can be enhanced and brightened for a clearer reading by a radiologist. Digital mammograms use less radiation than a film mammogram. A film mammogram takes a picture of the breast on film, like a picture. It can?t be altered, magnified, or brightened.

Early detection of breast cancer can give a woman an 81{abffe3e1318a9624791ae4064333f2f75374704dc13d09152fd440b16c9e1c0c} five year survival rate. In my case, I have a 20{abffe3e1318a9624791ae4064333f2f75374704dc13d09152fd440b16c9e1c0c} rate of cancer recurrence so I am close to the 80{abffe3e1318a9624791ae4064333f2f75374704dc13d09152fd440b16c9e1c0c} five year survival rate. I have one year to go.
But a digital mammogram is not all you can do to give you an edge.

Walking everyday for 15 to 30 minutes a day keeps you fit and the weight down. Too many extra pounds increase risk of breast cancer.

Take 15 minutes of that walk in the sunshine without sunscreen. Your skin will absorb healthy amounts of Vitamin D. Studies have shown Vitamin D helps fight breast cancer.

Eat healthy. Lower your intake of fats while increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. Don?t forget the orange juice.

Reduce stress. Learn to meditate or learn yoga. Stress is a killer. Put your resources to staying healthy in both mind and body.

This has been my regimen for four years now. Every year I look forward to New Year?s Day and this year is no exception.