October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This important initiative, and organization by the same name (NBCAM), was started over two decades ago to raise awareness about breast cancer in all women and their families. Over the years, the organization has evolved and made all issues related to breast cancer of year-round importance. NBCAM is comprised of professional medical associations – such as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American College of Radiology, and the American College of Clinical Oncology; government agencies – such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and national public service organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, working together to increase the awareness of breast cancer, provide access to screening services, and share information about all aspects of breast cancer.
Encouraging women to increase their knowledge and to take control of their own health, NBCAM wants women to make sure to schedule an annual mammogram, practice regular self-breast exams, and take the prescribed treatment, including that for prevention and treatment, of breast cancer. The fact that this organization and the increased awareness of breast cancer has had a positive effect is shown by recent studies in which not only death rates from breast cancer have decreased, but also the number of new cases diagnosed with breast cancer has decreased in recent years. Most experts believe that these significant decreases are due not only to improved treatments, but also to the increased awareness by patients of their risks for this cancer; this has lead to more women getting screened regularly, and in cases where breast cancer may be present, having it detected at an early stage when there is the highest chance for a cure.
Robin and I agree completely with the philosophy of NBCAM. Please visit NBCAM’s website, a wonderful resource about your breast health throughout the entire year, and not just in October. http://nbcam.org/index.cfm
In addition to the stress due to what’s going on in this country, I have had a fair amount of personal stress in my life lately. My dad recently died, my youngest son has gone to college and the nest is now empty and my job is changing and getting a whole lot busier. That has led me to this current blog topic….STRESS!
Stress is one of those things that is a natural part of life. And one of those things that can show up physically with new, or worsening, symptoms. Some of us handle it better than others. There are various types of stress. There is acute stress that you feel when you are in danger and that provokes a “fight or flight” response, otherwise known as an adrenaline rush. There is intermittent acute stress that is a hallmark of those with the type A personality. These are people who are stress junkies and thrive on deadlines and rushing around. Finally, there is continuous or chronic stress. This can be seen in people who are oppressed either by a job, relationship or a government.
The most dangerous form is chronic stress. After time, those with this type of stress get so used to it they don’t even notice it. The continuous outpouring of stress hormones can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even cancer.
It is important that you recognize stress in your life and that you do something about it, especially since there are so many ways to relieve stress. I advise starting with a healthy diet (avoid the urge to devour carbs), exercise is key, and then find ways to relax: read a lighthearted book; listen to soothing music; lay on the sofa holding your dog, and pet her nonstop. There are also complementary medical therapies (CAM) such as massage and acupuncture that can help. Meditation and yoga are great ways to relax and manage the stress response. Some may need the help of a therapist. There are chapters in our book, which go into much greater detail about all of these stress-busters including diet, exercise, and CAM therapies
Regardless of which route you choose, it is important to pay attention to your body and if you are chronically or even intermittently stressed get help and stay healthy.
We finally managed to be on the same coast at the same time recently when we were asked to do an interview about our book on AARP Radio, also known as Prime Time Radio. It will air the week of October 7, 2008, on one of your own local stations. To find the station and time our interview will air in your area, go to:
Then go down to the middle of the page to the purple title, “Find your Station quickly.” Look for your state in the alphabetized menu, click on it, and the list of stations carrying AARP Radio broadcasts, and the times, will show up. We believe you will find our interview informative and entertaining, so please join us!