I lost my sister Brenda to breast cancer 11 years ago. She was only 36 years old – young and in good shape; a successful business women with the world at her fingertips. It was a rude awakening.
The loss raised my awareness and taught me to be more conscious.
I try and take steps to prevent breast cancer and other diseases and while it is not easy to follow every detail, I do think it is worth trying.
Prevention and early detection are the big factors to live a long and healthy life. Even though most of us have hectic lives, we need to take a look and see what we can do to take the necessary steps to survive not only the so-called rat race, but to beat the diseases that can make us come to a screeching halt. As women our day to day lives are very full. We have careers that take up a good portion of the week, families to take care of and nurture and household chores – more than enough activity to make anyone’s head spin.
Start today by making a change in your diet and life style. You must make every effort to squeeze in time for some TLC and a bit of exercise.
You need to allow time in your schedule to establish your programme of prevention. Get outdoors and experience some time alone or with family. Exercise is important for everyone. It can be just as easy as taking walks around the block or a stroll up the beach. A few days a week is better than nothing – you have to begin somewhere. It is one of the pieces of the puzzle when it comes to prevention.
Eating right is also important. Start by modifying your existing diet. Trade the French fries for a green salad. Have some green tea and honey instead of a soda or coffee. Reach for an apple or nuts instead of chips to snack on. Buy whole grain bread, not white bread and pasta. Brown rice is good too. You will find the wheat breads have more flavour. Include vegetables and fruits into your diet. Eat fish, cut back on red meat. Do not overindulge on junk and fast foods and take your vitamins.
Some of the important steps to early detection are monthly self-exams, your annual medical examination with your doctor and at the appropriate age depending on family history, getting a mammogram. I know some women shy away from the test, thinking it is painful and embarrassing. I would take a mammogram any day over a mastectomy or chemotherapy.
If you find a lump, don’t run and hide, call your doctor and make an appointment. Quite often it is a benign cyst; some women get them, and they can disappear, too.
Schedule your annual appointment and mammogram during your birthday month, which makes them much easier to remember.
I have peace of mind knowing that I am examined and should anything be discovered I could start battling against it.
In Cayman we are privileged to have the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign sponsored by the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens. Members devote their time and efforts to improving awareness of the disease. The club helps educate women and men, as men can get breast cancer as well, on the disease. With the funds raised through various events, the club is able to give over 5000 certificates for free mammograms; as well as support and other financial assistance to sufferers in Cayman. Join in the battle this year. Attend a district clinic, meeting or walk the walk and show you are on the path to prevention.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The month is filled with clinics, the run/walk and other events. Please show your support and attend some of the events. You can go to the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens website at lctgbreastcancerawareness.com for a calendar of events, district meetings and clinics on breast cancer awareness.
When Brenda found out that she had the disease, she became involved with the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens Breast Cancer Campaign. The club began the annual Breast Cancer run/walk and dedicated it in her memory. This year the Brenda Tibbetts-Lund Memorial 5k run/walk takes place Saturday, 10 October, starting from Public Beach at 6am.
Your support may help save your mother, daughter, sister, aunt, spouse or friend. The life you help save may even be your own.
As a community we can join together to build hope and survival through early detection.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. WH