Don’t Stress Over Your Breast!!! Part 1

RaceribbionbreastcancerBREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH IS FINALLY HERE!! I believe that hope for a world without breast cancer starts with me. That’s why I’m walked in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event yesterday in Downtown Brickell Miami.  OhMyGosh Alternative Medicine & Aromatherapy Spa/Salon wants to provide our clients with extensive amounts of helpful information on this stressful overpowering obstacle that takes many lives every year.  In this blog OMG wants you to leave knowledgeable about not only this particular cancer itself but…

  •  How to check yourself for possible signs/symptoms monthly (Part 1)
  • Altering your nutritional/wellness lifestyle (Part 1)
  • Avoid/cope with breast cancer through treatments/products by OMG (Part 2)
  • Beauty tips and cautions to take using certain products with breast cancer  (Part 2)
  • Events to participate for supporting the cause

Each year, millions of women discover that they have acquired breast cancer. Although predominately originating in women, breast cancer can also be found in men (topic will be addressed in a future blog so stay tuned). This may be the reason breast cancer is highly considered one of the most conventional types of all diagnosable cancers. Luckily, if you are diagnosed as having cancer, there are many alternatives treatments that may facilitate you in becoming cancer free. Howeveselfexamr, before that can occur, you need to be diagnosed as having breast cancer.

 

It’s best to examine your breasts at least once a month, and it is best to do this the same time each month because breasts usually change with the menstrual cycle. The best time to do Breast Self Exam (BSE) is about a week after your period begins.

There are two parts to a BSE:

  • how your breasts look
  • how they feel

The observing part is easy. Prior to putting on a bra, stand or sit in front of a mirror with your arms relaxed at your sides. Look at your breasts carefully. Do you see anything abnormal, like a variation in the way your nipples look? Any dimples or changes in the epidermis?

Then look at yourself from different angles and arm positions. Keep your hands at your sides, raise your arms overhead, place your hands firmly on your hips (to tighten your chest wall muscles), and bend forward. Watch for dimples or changes in the skin.

The next part is how your breasts feel. It may seem awkward at first to handle your breasts. Some may feel self-conscious about it, but there’s no reason to feel guilty or strange. BSE is a positive way to stay healthy.

It’s easiest to do the feeling procedure of the BSE in the shower — not only is it convenient, but the soap and water can also help your hands move easily over your breasts. Examine your breasts one at a time. If you’re starting with your right breast, raise your right arm, place your right hand behind your head, and use your left hand to feel your breast.

One way to examine your breast is to think of your breast as a circle. Using the pads of your three middle fingers, move your fingers in a spiral motion from the outside to the inside of the circle, gradually getting closer to the nipple. Notice what feels normal and what may feel different from the last time you examined your breasts.

Use different levels of pressure — light, medium, and firm — to feel each part of your breast. This will allow you to feel the various layers of tissue in the breast. Start with light pressure, increase to medium pressure, and finish with firm pressure to feel the deepest tissue. When you have covered the entire breast, use your finger and thumb to gently squeeze your nipple, watching for any discharge. Then put your left arm behind your head and check your left breast the same way. You can also examine your breasts as you lie on your back on your bed. Use the same method described above, raising one arm and using the other hand to check your breast in a spiral motion.  

As you feel your breasts, you may notice lumps or bumps. This is usually normal — just like so many things about people, breasts are unique. But if you’re worried about the way your breasts look or feel, let your doctor know.

B0006421 Breast cancer cellsThe most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. But some cancers are tender, soft, and rounded. So it’s important to have anything unusual checked by a doctor. Most breast lumps are benign. This means they are not cancer. Benign breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life threatening.  Benign but painful lumps characterize the most common form of non cancerous breast disease:  chronic cystic mastitis, also known as fibrocystic breast disease. The condition affects one in five women, typically those in their thirties and fortiesThese changes can cause breast swelling and pain. They often happen just before a woman’s period is about to start. The breasts may feel lumpy, and sometimes there is a clear or slightly cloudy nipple discharge.

Because breast tissue is very sensitive to hormonal changes, it can enlarge and thicken by as much as half then shrink again by the same amount, at various times during the menstrual cycle. Normally, fluid from the breast tissue is collected and transported out of the breasts by means of the lymphatic system. The lymph system is one of the main ways in which breast cancers can spread. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped groups of immune system cells (cells that fight infections) that are connected by lymphatic vessels. Lymphatic vessels are like small veins, except that they carry a clear fluid called lymph (instead of blood) away from the breast. If there is more fluid than the lymphatic system can handle, small spaces in breast tissue may fill with this fluid and form cysts. These pockets of fluid can appear alone or in clusters. Although cysts are not in themselves considered dangerous, they can make it harder to detect a possible cancerous lesion or lump. If you suspect that you have a cyst, you should have it checked by your doctor -both for your health and for your peace of mind.

Other signs of breast cancer include the following:

  • swelling of all or part of the breast
  • skin irritation or dimpling
  • breast pain
  • nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
  • redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • a nipple discharge other than breast milk

Sometimes breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt. If you have any symptoms that might be a sign of breast cancer, be sure see a doctor as soon as you can.

When it comes to being diagnosed with breast cancer, a large amount of focus is placed on the signs and symptoms. The widespread use of screening mammograms has increased the number of breast cancers found before they cause any symptoms, but some are still missed.

While it is important to focus on the symptoms of breast cancer, they are not the only things that you should keep in mind. Although an exact cause of breast cancer has yet to be determined, there are a number of risk factors associated with the cancer. Determining whether or not any of these risk factors apply to you is one of the best ways, aside from regularly examining your body, to determine whether or not you may have breast cancer or end up developing it in the future.

You may be at a greater risk of developing breast cancer if someone else in your immediate family has also been diagnosed with having it. It has been noted that the BRCA1 gene and the BRCA2 gene have something to do with the development of breast cancer. Specific variations in DNA can trigger normal breast cells to become cancer. DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that makes up our genes — the blueprint for how our cells work. Some inherited DNA mutations can intensify the risk for developing cancer and cause the cancers that run in some families. For instance, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes — they keep cancer tumors from arising. When they are mutated, they no longer cause cells to die at the right time, and cancer is more likely to develop. But most breast cancer DNA changes occur in single breast cells during a woman’s life rather than having been inherited.

Research is still being conducted on this and so far, the causes of most of the DNA mutations that could lead to breast cancer are not known. ; however, it is looking as if damaged cells, which may later account for breast cancer, are being passed down through family members. Therefore, if someone in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, there is a good chance that you may also develop it.

Other risks but not limited to that can put you as a high target for breast cancer are:

  1. Gender: Being a woman is the main risk for breast cancer. While men also get the disease, it is about 100 times more common in women than in men.
  2. Age: The chance of getting breast cancer goes up as a woman gets older. About 2 out of 3 women with invasive breast cancer are 55 or older when the cancer is found.
  3. Race: White women are slightly more likely to get breast cancer than African-American women. But African American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. At least part of the reason seems to be because African-American women have faster growing tumors, but we don’t know why this is the case. Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women have a lower risk of getting and dying from breast cancer.
  4. Dense breast tissue: Dense breast tissue means there is more gland tissue and less fatty tissue. Women with denser breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer. Dense breast tissue can also make it harder for doctors to spot problems on mammograms.
  5. Menstrual periods: Women who began having periods early (before age 12) or who went through the change of life (menopause) after the age of 55 have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. They have had more menstrual periods and as a result have been exposed to more of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

drinkbreastcancerDespite the risks mentioned above there are some that you can control and lessen the chances of developed breast cancer tremendously. Here just a few…

  1. 1.      Not having children or having them later in life: Women who have had not had children, or who had their first child after age 30, have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. Being pregnant many times and at an early age reduces breast cancer risk. Being pregnant lowers a woman’s total number of lifetime menstrual cycles, which may be the reason for this effect.

2.      Recent use of birth control pills: Studies have found that women who are using birth control pills have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. This risk seems to go back to normal over time once the pills are stopped. Women who stopped using the pill more than 10 years ago do not seem to have any increased risk. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of birth control pills.

3.      Not breast-feeding: Some studies have shown that breast-feeding slightly lowers breast cancer risk, especially if the breast-feeding lasts 1½ to 2 years. This could be because breast-feeding lowers a woman’s total number of menstrual periods, as does pregnancy

4.      Alcohol: Use of alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of getting breast cancer. Women who have one drink a day have a very small increased risk. Those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who drink no alcohol. The American Cancer Society suggests limiting the amount you drink to one drink a day.

5.      Being overweight or obese: Being overweight or obese is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, especially for women after change of life or if the weight gain took place during adulthood. Also, the risk seems to be higher if the extra fat is around the waist. But the link between weight and breast cancer risk is complex. And studies of fat in the diet as it relates to breast cancer risk have often given conflicting results. The American Cancer Society recommends you stay at a healthy weight throughout your life and avoid gaining too much weight.

6.      Lack of exercise: Studies show that exercise reduces breast cancer risk. The only question is how much exercise is needed. One study found that as little as 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2½ hours of brisk walking per week reduced the risk by 18%. Walking 10 hours a week reduced the risk a little more. The American Cancer Society suggests that you exercise for 45 to 60 minutes 5 or more days a week.

Also here some additional risks that are uncertain but are still being looked at under clinical research…

  • Antiperspirants and bras: Internet e-mail rumors have suggested that underarm antiperspirants can cause breast cancer. There is very little evidence to support this idea. Also, there is no evidence to support the idea that bras cause breast cancer.
  • Pollution: A lot of research is being done to learn how the environment might affect breast cancer risk. At this time, research does not show a clear link between breast cancer risk and environmental pollutants.
  • Tobacco Smoke: Most studies have found no link between active cigarette smoking and breast cancer. An issue that continues to be a focus of research is whether secondhand smoke (smoke from another person’s cigarette) may increase the risk of breast cancer. But the evidence about secondhand smoke and breast cancer risk in human studies is not clear. In any case, a possible link to breast cancer is yet another reason to avoid being around secondhand smoke.
  • Night Work: A few studies have suggested that women who work at night (nurses on the night shift, for instance) have a higher risk of breast cancer. This is a fairly recent finding, and more studies are being done to look at this.
  • High fat diets: Studies of fat in the diet have not clearly shown that this is a breast cancer risk factor. Most studies found that breast cancer is less common in countries where the typical diet is low in fat. On the other hand, many studies of women in the United States have not found breast cancer risk to be linked to how much fat they ate. Researchers are still not sure how to explain this difference. More research is needed to better understand the effect of the types of fat eaten and body weight on breast cancer risk.

health - wet appleTreasure Your Chest – Diet for your Breast

Women who develop breast cysts or breast cancer as a result may find that retooling their diets and lifestyle east a lot of the discomfort and swelling associated with the cysts. Concentrate on low-fat, high fiber foods, with lots of raw foods, seeds nuts and grains. Use olive oil in place of saturated fats. Fresh bananas, apples, grapes, grapefruit, fresh veggies and yogurt are all good foods to include.

Soy based foods such as tofu are highly recommended because they contain isoflavones. These compounds help neutralize excess estrogen so you body can filter it out. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts contain another class of chemicals called indoles. They also work to protect breast tissue from excess estrogen. Finally, the culinary immune boosters’ garlic, onions and shiitake mushrooms may help keep your whole system operating healthfully.

Refrain from drinking coffee, tea and other caffeine – containing foods and beverages. Cut down on dairy products and animal meats, along with hydrogenated fats found in margarine and the saturated ones that pack fried foods. Salt, sugar and white flour are also enemies – so leave out the processed cookies, crackers, and cakes.

 SAMPLE MENU

Breakfast: Usually do cereal? Slice a medium or half a large banana on top. Your morning juice can count, too. Just 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice or vegetable juice (go for low-sodium) counts as a serving with 2 servings at breakfast, you’re on your way.

Midmorning snack: Snack time is a great time to work in another serving of fruits or vegetables. An individual-sized container of applesauce, 5-6 baby carrots, or a small handful (1/4cup) of dried fruit will add 1 more serving. It’s only the middle of your morning, and you’ve already gotten 3 servings!

Lunch: When you need a quick lunch, try ordering a pita sandwich or wrap loaded with vegetables, or a cup of hearty vegetable soup. Either of these gives you 1 more serving. Add a small side salad with low-fat dressing, and your count just jumped to 5 servings for the day so far.

Dinner: Even if you only have 5 minutes, dinner veggies are easy and delicious. Heat canned or frozen peas or cauliflower in the microwave for a quick side dish. Or make a meal out of a microwave-cooked sweet potato with 1 teaspoon of butter, a splash of apple juice or squeeze of lemon, and a light sprinkling of cinnamon and brown sugar. Any one of these will add 1 more serving to your day, and now you’re up to 6 servings.

Dessert: Savor a frozen treat made from 100% juice or place ½ cup of berries, peaches, or other favorite fruit on low-fat frozen yogurt and you have added another serving to your day — bringing your daily total to 7 servings.

breast-cancer-awareness-ribbonDid you know you benefit from even small amounts of moderate activity throughout the day? Regular physical activity is easier to fit in than you may realize and can significantly lower your lifetime risk for cancer –and heart disease and diabetes, too. Exercise decreases the stress hormones in your body reduce fluids in your body while increasing levels of feel-good chemicals in your brain. And that’s significant, because those hormones play a role a causing breast pain. These recommendations are based on the latest scientific information to help reduce the risk of developing cancer.   

Adults: Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity, above usual activities, on 5 or more days of the week; 45 to 60 minutes of intentional physical activity are preferable. 

Children and adolescents: Engage in at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 5 days per week.

Moderate Activity is anything that makes you breath as hard as you do during a brisk walk. During moderate activities, you’ll notice a slight increase in heart rate and breathing, but you may not break a sweat.

Vigorous Activities generally engage large muscle groups and cause a noticeable increase in heart rate, breathing depth and frequency, and sweating.

Other beneficial activities include those that improve strength and flexibility such as weight lifting, stretching, or yoga.

Examples of Moderate and Vigorous Physical Activities

  Moderate Activities Vigorous Activities
Exercise and Leisure Walking, dancing, leisurely bicycling, ice-skating or roller-skating, horseback riding, canoeing, yoga Jogging or running, fast bicycling, circuit weight training, aerobic dance, martial arts, jump rope, swimming
Sports Volleyball, golfing, softball, baseball, badminton, doubles tennis, downhill skiing Soccer, field hockey or ice hockey, lacrosse, singles tennis, racquetball, basketball, cross-country skiing
Home Activities Mowing the lawn, general lawn and garden maintenance Digging, carrying and hauling, masonry, carpentry
Occupational Activity Walking and lifting as part of the job (custodial work, farming, auto or machine repair) Heavy manual labor (forestry, construction, fire fighting)

 

Looking for more ways to work in activity during your day? Think about how much time you spend sitting rather than being active. Then consider these simple substitutions that can help you get moving.

  • Use stairs rather than an elevator.
  • Walk or bike to your destination.
  • Exercise at lunch with your workmates, family, or friends.
  • Take a 10-minute exercise break at work to stretch or take a quick walk.
  • Walk to visit co-workers instead of sending an email.
  • Go dancing with your spouse or friends.
  • Plan active vacations rather than only driving trips.
  • Wear a pedometer every day and watch your daily steps increase.
  • Join a sports team.
  • Use a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching TV.

OhMyGosh Alternative Medicine & Aromatherapy Spa/Salon is always here to answer you question about breast cancer or any other issues you have on health/beauty. Remember this is just Part 1 so watch out for the next blog on Breast Cancer Awareness that will inform you about the treatments and products to assist you in this disease along with guidelines to keep you product savvy when coping with breast cancer. 

Your PERSONAL HEALTH/BEAUTY CHEMIST,

Candice N. Frederick – Founder of OMG Alternative Medicine& Aromatherapy Spa/Salon

EXPERIENCE FLAWLESS INNOVATION!!!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Damion Dunn on October 5, 2009 at 2:18 AM

    Good Job, I’m impressed with your work!

    Reply

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