April 2013 What is a carb?
According to the general public, media, untrained physicians and any author who wants to make money with a diet book, carbs are foods made from grains like bread, pasta and rice. This is simply not true....
March 2013 Getting Brain Tastical
The secret to making a good movie is the director. He guides the crew, the equipment and the key players to create a cohesive masterpiece. our brain is the director of our bodies and of the epic films we call our lives.
If you’ve somehow missed the quirky status updates on Facebook, or all the pink ribbons around town, you might have forgotten why October is so special for over 2.4 million American women: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And those 2.4 million women? Breast cancer survivors.
While we have made great progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer over the past several decades, it is still the #2 cause of cancer death in women in the U.S (lung cancer being #1). Roughly 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year; nearly 40,000 women will die this year from the disease. (While it is uncommon, men can also get breast cancer and make up about 1% of those diagnosed with the disease.)
While there are still many questions about what may cause breast cancer and how to prevent it, the Willamette Valley Cancer and Research Institute in Oregon suggests that we can at least reduce our risk by making several lifestyle choices:
1. Limit alcohol consumption; it not only reduces your risk of breast cancer, but many other types of cancers, as well. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that drinking in moderation equals “one drink per day” (for women).
2. Maintain a healthy body weight (an increased risk of breast cancer has been linked to excessive body weight in postmenopausal women). Not sure if you have a healthy body weight? Talk with your doctor, or use a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator online.
3. Engage in regular physical activity. Several studies have shown that regular physical activity may decrease your risk of breast cancer. Don’t like to run? Walk. Don’t like to walk? Bike. Or play basketball. Or hopscotch. It doesn’t matter so much as what you do, as long as you are getting your heart pumping and your blood moving.
4. Breastfeed! Nature truly does have a way of knowing what is best not only
for baby, but mom as well. If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant in
the future, make breastfeeding your baby a top priority. It not only makes for a
healthier baby, but can reduce your risk of breast cancer, as well.
While making good lifestyle choices is a great start in reducing your risk of breast cancer, being aware of other risk factors is very important. Know your family history. Did your mother or sister have breast cancer? Starting menstruation at an early age, menopause at a late age, or having children at a later age (or not having them at all) can all increase your risk, as well. It was discovered in the last decade that taking postmenopausal hormones also increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer. The USDA recommends women that must take these hormones use the lowest dose that eases symptoms for the shortest time needed. Age is a well-determined risk factor for breast cancer: the older a woman is, the more likely she is to develop the disease.
We must remember, however, that while many women will present with all of the above risk factors – she may never get breast cancer. At the same time, a woman who stays fit, eats healthy, and follows all the prevention guidelines may still be diagnosed with the disease. Because of this, breast cancer screening is an important step for all women to take.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests all women begin having a yearly mammogram screening at age 40. The ACS suggests that women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam performed every 3 years, while women in their 40s and older should have a clinical breast exam performed annually. Women of all ages should know what their breasts look and feel like, and report any changes to their doctor or nurse practitioner immediately. The ACS also notes that some women (due to family history or certain risk factors) may want to begin mammogram screenings at a younger age, or be screened with an MRI in addition to a mammogram. Talk with your care provider if you feel you may fit into this category.
Curry Health Network offers all of the above services, so you can stay local and have your screenings done without leaving the county. Remember: Early detection means a higher cure rate! The sooner breast cancer can be diagnosed, the better chance we have to cure it. Contact the Curry Breast Health Program at 541-247-3104 for more information on screenings – as well as free or low-cost programs.
Let’s make this October the month when we dedicate ourselves to getting the screenings we need. Make a special donation to www.nationalbreastcancer.org if you can. Let’s keep up the fight so that our mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives can beat this thing called breast cancer. We’re winning small battles every day … let’s keep fighting to win the war.