Here at New Hope Unlimited, we celebrate the strength and courage of thousands of men and women who face breast cancer every day of the year. This October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month caused us to think about every survivor whose life changed after hearing, “You have breast cancer.”
Dear Breast Cancer Survivors, here are ten things you need to know today and every day.
1. You Are Not Alone in This Journey
According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, you are one of the estimated 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. What’s more, millions of family members, friends, and caregivers have gone to doctor’s appointments, prepared meals, babysat, cleaned, and carpooled while their loved one battled breast cancer.
Today, show some love to everyone who stayed by your side throughout treatment and recovery. If you start feeling discouraged or alone, watch these inspiring survivor stories from women and men who have been in your shoes.
2. Life After Remission is Not the Same, and That’s Okay
Cati Stone, executive director of Komen Greater Atlanta and a breast cancer survivor, said, “People think it’s ‘life as usual’ after breast cancer. But it’s not.” You are not the same person you were before your breast cancer diagnosis. Today, as a survivor, you may have a better outlook on life and appreciate the smaller things, such as welcoming a new day or sleeping in clean sheets.
Keep in mind that you may need some time to recuperate physically and emotionally. Do not feel pressured to return to work or get in shape right away.
3. That Lingering Fear of Cancer Coming Back is Normal
Like you, most survivors worry about breast cancer recurrence. The truth is, breast cancer can return at the original site or spread to other parts of your body. To prevent the worst from happening, it is crucial to visit your doctor on a regular basis following treatment.
4. You Need to Stop Adjusting Your Lifestyle Based on Hearsay
Scientific evidence does not support a connection between breast cancer recurrence and a myriad of rumors, misconceptions, and flat-out lies that have received a lot of media attention. Some of these unproven cancer-causing hearsays include exposure to radiation from microwaves, drinking caffeine, using antiperspirants, and several others.
5. Making Healthy Choices May Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence
Maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, and eating food with anti-cancer properties may help reduce your risk of breast cancer recurrence. For instance, an analysis found that breast cancer survivors who walked for three or more hours a week had a 30 percent lower risk of mortality (from any cause) compared to sedentary survivors.
Check out our blog 10 Lifestyle Habits to Significantly Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer to know more about which practices to adopt.
6. Do Not Hesitate to Ask for Help
Fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, and denial are some of the emotions your journey with breast cancer might have brought you. Thinking about your finances, insurance, or finding services can feel overwhelming. Luckily, organizations and programs that offer support, guidance, and resources exist. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with asking your loved ones for help. A fellow survivor shared, “I learned that if I took a hand offered to me, there was no telling what gifts I would receive.”
7. You Do Not Need Smoke to Reduce Stress
Remember that surviving cancer is like getting a second chance, and you need to start taking better care of yourself moving forward. As a breast cancer survivor, you have an increased risk for chronic health conditions and premature death. Unfortunately, many cancer survivors continue to smoke after their diagnosis. Please do not be one of them. To enhance the length and quality of your life, you need to remain tobacco-free.
8. Keep Learning! There is Always Something New About Breast Cancer
People say “knowledge is power” for multiple good reasons. By being well-informed about your diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care, you can feel in control of your life again. Hence, the next time you visit your physician, consider asking some questions.
According to the National Cancer Institute, you should ask your doctor these important questions about survivorship:
- How high is the possibility of my cancer returning?
- What kind of follow-up care should I expect?
- How long will it take for me to feel better and more like myself again?
- Do I need further tests after treatment? How often will I have the tests?
- Should I expect long-term health issues as a result of my breast cancer and its treatment? What are they?
- What records do I need to keep regarding my treatment?
- What steps should I take to be as healthy as possible?
- What symptoms should I observe and tell you about?
- Which medical specialist(s) should I see for my follow-up care? How often?
- Can you suggest a breast cancer support group that might help me?
9. It’s Okay to Consider Breast Reconstruction
To rebuild the shape and overall look of your breasts, you might choose to have breast reconstruction surgery. Don’t worry, restoring the breasts after a mastectomy or lumpectomy is not considered a cosmetic procedure. It is, however, best to talk about it with your doctor and a plastic surgeon experienced in breast reconstruction before undergoing surgery.
10. We Consider You Part of Our Family
New Hope Unlimited has been providing breast cancer alternative treatments and information on how to manage the disease for almost two decades. Our long-term mission is to end breast cancer forever. Our medical team is committed to fulfilling that goal. And, whether you are a survivor or a passionate advocate, every time you lace up your sneakers to Run for a Cause, or pin a pink ribbon on your shirt for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you are helping us achieve our mission. Thank you for being part of our family.
Diagnosed with breast cancer? Our non-invasive yet powerful therapies may address the root of your disease. Contact us now at 480-666-1403 to schedule a consultation.