These Are the Steps You Can Take to Prevent Breast Cancer Now

These Are the Steps You Can Take to Prevent Breast Cancer Now

Calm Your Tits and Be Proactive
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A part of growing up means having big talks about what it means to be an adult. For girls, that includes talks of the birds and the bees, visits from Aunt Flo and regular screenings for breast cancer.

Women of all ages know it’s important to get screened and the weight that diagnosis brings, but how many sources discuss breast cancer prevention? Researchers continue to work diligently at discovering how breast cancer first develops, but you can take preventive measures now to steer your course away from the disease.

If breast cancer runs in your family, it may feel inevitable that you will get it, too, but lifestyle factors strongly influence your chances. Many of the steps are simple to integrate into your daily routine.

Calm Your Tits

You read that right. Calm your tits — meaning your mind, body and soul — to redirect your energy away from toxicity and destress. It’s not just in your head. Your body reacts to stress, too.

If you’re constantly in fight-or-flight mode, your immune system suffers, and stress disrupts the cells that conduct search-and-destroy missions on new diseased cells. Stress affects your risk of getting breast cancer just as it would affect your heart health.

Cut out what doesn’t add to a fulfilling life. Reduce your workload. Schedule a personal day off. Develop coping mechanisms that work for you, such as journaling or taking a walk in nature. Revisit old hobbies that felt rewarding, and try new ones. Build a routine that creates real work-life balance.

Get Active and Lose Weight

Losing weight is a typical New Year’s resolution that often falls by the wayside. Getting active at any time of the year makes you feel good about yourself and reduces your risk of breast cancer diagnosis.

Increased breast cancer risk links to high BMI, especially for those with a large amount of abdominal fat. This type of fat is associated with lipotoxicity — meaning metabolic products go right into portal circulation. The blood carries this toxicity to the liver and beyond, and that metabolically active fat contains different growth factors, such as estrogen, that influence the development of breast cancer.

Start with an evening walk twice a week, and build up your routine from there.

Nix Toxins

The detox lifestyle continues to trend, but women do it for more than bikini season. Women want to lead a healthier lifestyle and consume only what makes them stronger and live longer.

Detoxing is about more than fruit and veggie smoothies, though supping on that deliciousness doesn’t hurt. Detoxing means nixing the toxins in your life, starting with bad habits.

Alcohol consumption and smoking are risk factors for breast cancer, and they contribute to predictive risk for contralateral breast cancer. These are modifiable behaviors. If both are a part of your life, these behaviors greatly impact your risk factor even more. Talk to your doctor about setting goals to reduce and eliminate your consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Start with small, achievable goals.

Research Calcium Supplements

Many women take calcium supplements to make sure they have strong bone health when older. Guidelines for health care and prevention shift as research develops, so check with your doctor. Never take too much and check for interactions.

Calcium’s role in the prevention of cancer keeps shifting. Unfortunately, the role of calcium metabolism on biomarker levels remains unclear. Research has shown a 19 percent decline in breast cancer risk in those in the highest quantile of dietary calcium intake when compared to the lowest set. In meta-analysis, researchers found that serum calcium corresponded with a lower risk. While these studies offer promising data, more research is needed.

Taking healthy measures to eat whole foods, eliminate stress and cut out toxins enriches your life, while reducing your risks for many chronic diseases. Roughly 266,120 estimated diagnoses of breast cancer will be made in 2018, and 40,920 of those diagnosed won’t make it.

Even if breast cancer doesn’t run in your family, that doesn’t mean your chance of getting diagnosed is zero. Think of eight female friends. One of you is that “yes” statistic. Make an appointment to see your doctor for your regular screening, and develop plans to lead a healthier and happier life. You deserve the best.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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It's National Eosinophil Awareness Week And More People Should Be Talking About It

It's time to raise awareness about eosinophil-associated diseases and support those, including myself, who are affected.

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For anyone who is unaware, May 19 to May 25 is considered National Eosinophil Awareness Week as recognized by the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (Apfed) since 2007. The purpose of this week is to raise awareness and help educate individuals on the various eosinophil-associated diseases. Despite its existence being virtually unknown to many people, this week has become very significant in my life and I think more people should be having conversations about it.

If you had asked me about eosinophil-associated diseases two years ago, I wouldn't have been able to say a single thing besides maybe defining an eosinophil the way I learned to in my AP Biology class senior year of high school. But as of a few months ago, it has officially been one year since I was diagnosed with an eosinophil-associated disease — something I never imagined would happen in my life. While I won't share too much of my own experience because it's honestly quite personal and still a little sensitive to discuss, it's safe to say that eosinophils completely changed my life.

I was fracturing bones like it was my job — I think I had upwards of nine stress fractures in my legs and feet in a year and a half time period. I had to stop playing sports my senior year of high school and couldn't run at all. I was nauseous 24/7. I was rapidly losing weight to the point where I had lost close to 35 pounds and none of my clothes fit me. I couldn't swallow anything, including water. Eating was painful. I had no appetite.

I was sick and in pain ALL the time to the point where I would get emotional or even cry.

I missed school days, tests, exams, social events, and eventually had to quit my job for an entire summer because even getting out of bed was hard for me. Ultimately, even the decision about the college that I chose to attend was partially based on my health and the doctors I would need to visit frequently.

But the most significant thing was that I was experiencing severe depression and anxiety and was honestly just straight-up scared. Think about it: I was experiencing a wide range of life-altering symptoms yet no one could figure out why and even when they did, there was no cure and only limited options for treatment. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many patients and their families. The process of diagnosing an eosinophil-associated disease can take years and require pretty much every medical test you can even think of because these diseases are all classified as rare diseases.

I was experiencing symptoms for a year and the journey to an accurate diagnosis took about a year after that. The journey itself was not easy, as it involved numerous doctors and countless medical tests to eliminate other potential diagnoses like cancers, parasites or even celiac. Since then, I have been involved with treatment for a little over a year. For me, treatment involved several medications and steps, including gaining the weight I had lost.

But the main piece was cutting pretty much everything out of my diet, meaning no gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, seafood, or nuts. Gradually over time this treatment involves reintroducing the foods individually (each for a three-month period) to see what can be tolerated or which foods make my eosinophils act abnormally and then restricting my diet accordingly.

Since starting treatment my life has been gradually changing in a positive manner, which is something I couldn't have imagined when I initially became ill. Yes, I will still be sick for the rest of my life and experience the chronic waxing and waning of this disease, but hopefully years of experience and knowledge will make me better equipped to handle it. One day there may even be a cure. But until then I will continue to raise awareness and participate in National Eosinophil Awareness Week in solidarity with the few who are also sharing in my experience living with an eosinophil-associated disease.

While I wrote this article with the intention of participating in Eosinophil Awareness Week by raising awareness and educating (to some extent), it was about more than that. I wanted to give you a synopsis of my story and the challenges I face to make this week more understandable and more real. This was because I know that eosinophil is not only challenging to say (even I struggle) but also challenging to conceptualize.

If you're interested in learning more or you're still confused, I recommend doing some quick reading on Apfed's website because they are extremely helpful in the way they simplify the complex information.

If you would like to see what you can do during National Eosinophil Awareness Week, you can also click here to visit Apfed's day-by-day guide for the week, which included some fact sheets, information about wearing magenta to support the cause, and other information about individual participation.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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