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How To Support Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Early Detection

How to Help a Breast Cancer Survivor | Breast Cancer

There is no way to prevent breast cancer, but detecting it early is one of the best ways to help ensure good results. Adult women are encouraged to perform a self-exam every month to become familiar with how their breasts look and feel. Mammograms will find lumps, but your self-knowledge will also alert you to any abnormalities.

To perform a self-exam, use the pads of your 3 middle fingers and check the entire breast and armpit area pressing down with light, medium and firm pressure. Feel for any lumps, thickening, hardened knots, or any other breast changes. This can be performed in the shower, in front of a mirror or lying down.

If you feel anything you hadnt noticed before, be sure to reach out to your doctor.

Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables And Avoid Too Much Alcohol

A healthy diet can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and keep alcohol at moderate levels or lower . While moderate drinking can be good for the heart in older adults, even low levels of intake can increase the risk of breast cancer. If you dont drink, dont feel you need to start. If you drink moderately, theres likely no reason to stop. But, if you drink more, you should cut down or quit.

Create Your Own Fundraiser

Having a bake sale, lemonade stand, or even a yard sale with proceeds going to a breast cancer charity are great ways to be proactive about raising awareness!

Here are a few easy and creative ideas I ran across:

Have a Pay to Dress Down Day at your office.

Everyone likes to wear jeans and t-shirts! Tell employees that they can wear casual clothing for an entire day as long as they make a minimum donation.

Save a Pear

Get a grocery store to donate some pears and set up a table outside with a sign that says Save a pear make a donation to the breast cancer charity of your choice.

Personal vending machine at work.

Purchase some of the office favorites in bulk mark them up, and sell them from your desk for $1 or $2.

Girls Night In get-together.

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Ways To Get Involved In Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every October since 1985, millions throughout the world get involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign that increases awareness of a disease that afflicts approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States.

The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it is detected early enough. This is why education and awareness are so important.

Here are 10 ways you can get involved during Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

1. Wear pink. A pink ribbon is an international symbol for breast cancer. Wearing a pink ribbon – or pink clothes – is an easy way to show your support for those who are fighting breast cancer. Pick out your favorite pink outfit and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Pink nails, pink hair, pink makeup, pink bracelets pink anything. Be creative in thinking pink this October.

2. Volunteer. There are numerous local and national volunteer organizations that raise awareness for breast cancer. Many people volunteer for the American Cancer Society , a nationwide voluntary health organization committed to eliminating cancer. Established in 1913, the ACS has many volunteer programs and events, such as Relay For Life, Road to Recovery, and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Click here to learn more about how you can get involved.

4. . The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. and American Cancer Society both offer outstanding resources to learn more about breast cancer. Here are some facts and stats from those organizations:

Helping A Friend Or Colleague With Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Do you have a friend or colleague who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? Are you unsure how this may affect your relationship or what kind of support you can offer?

To help you, we have compiled this page of useful tips and strategies from women who have experienced breast cancer. Of course, not every individual wants the same type of support. Wherever possible, try to take your lead from your friend. Listen for cues and dont be afraid to ask what they need or to make a suggestion.

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Money And Financial Support

If you have to reduce or stop work because of breast cancer, you may find it difficult to cope financially.

If you have cancer or you’re caring for someone with cancer, you may be entitled to financial support:

  • if you have a job but cannot work because of your illness, you’re entitled to Statutory Sick Pay from your employer
  • if you do not have a job and cannot work because of your illness, you may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance
  • if you’re caring for someone with cancer, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance
  • you may be eligible for other benefits if you have children living at home, or if you have a low household income

Find out what help is available to you as soon as possible. The social worker at your hospital will be able to give you the information you need.

Special Considerations For The Workplace

Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment affects everyone differently. How your colleague is dealing with their diagnosis is a personal thing, although she is probably experiencing physical andemotional distress on some level.

The best way to help your colleague will depend on the type of work she does, the kind of treatment she is undertaking and whether or not she needs or wants to work.

Some women return to work as quickly as possible because they crave the normality and companionship that work offers. Others need time away from work to deal with breast cancer and its treatment. If youre not sure what will help your colleague, you may find the following suggestions useful:

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Donate Clothes To A Chemo Center

Did you know you can make a difference in a cancer patients life without even ever speaking to them? In every town, there are community oncologists who will accept donations of blankets, hats, or scarves. Due to privacy issues, you may not be able to actually talk to them, but you can talk to the staff at the front desk and ask if they are willing to accept items.

Relationships With Friends And Family

Finding Support During Breast Cancer

It’s not always easy to talk about cancer, either for you or your family and friends. You may sense that some people feel awkward around you or avoid you.

Being open about how you feel and what your family and friends can do to help may put them at ease. However, do not be afraid to tell them that you need some time to yourself if that’s what you need.

Want to know more?

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Tips For Starting A Support Group For Breast Cancer Survivors

Do you want a nurse, oncologist, cancer support worker, or care giver to help you run this support group? A professional health care person isnt necessary, but can be helpful.

Heres what BreastCancer.org says about groups organized by breast cancer survivors:

Breast cancer survivors bring personal experience to support groups they organize. For example, a cancer survivor can help those who are newly diagnosed know what to expect. But because many breast cancer survivors have not had support group skill training, they may not always know how to respond to difficult group situations. At the same time, even without official training, people whove had breast cancer often have enough life experience to be comfortable when group dynamics get challenging. from Support Groups.

Research existing support groups in your area

Are there new or existing cancer support groups in your area? Who runs them, when do they meet, who are they for, and what is their focus? For instance, theres a new cancer support group called Living Well Beyond Cancer in Cobourg, Ontario that is just starting up, and its associated with The Canadian Cancer Society. It offers help for people coping with cancer after treatment, and their caregivers.

Think about program models

The next tip for starting a support group for breast cancer survivors describes what a program model actually means.

Get specific about the details of your group

Encourage Your Friends And Family

Encourage friends and family members to also get screened! By asking them to do this they will know you care about their health and you are a true and proud supporter of helping find a cure for breast cancer.

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure and honor of delivering a very special present to a place near and dear to my heart. “The Ark”, a substance … Continue Reading

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How To Help A Friend With Breast Cancer Help Her With Tasks That Need To Be Done:

  • Offer specific things you can do rather than vaguely offering to help. She doesnt know what she needs.
  • Show up and tell her youre here to do a task. Have some suggestions in mind in case she tries to say she doesnt need anything.
  • Help her tidy up, throw in a load of laundry, or cook dinner while youre over for a visit.
  • Arrange for someone to regularly clean her home. The organization Cleaning for a Reason provides cleaning services for free to women undergoing treatment. You can visit cleaningforareason.org to find participating maid services in her area.
  • Arrange for meals to be delivered to her house. The service Meal Train makes meal sign up easy, and the Plus Plan lets you help arrange other things she might need, too, such as services and financial contributions.
  • Pro Tips When Setting Up/Participating in a Meal Plan:

    Treatment For Breast Cancer

    Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    A team of specialists will meet to discuss the best possible treatment for you. This is called a multidisciplinary team .

    Your doctor will explain the different treatment options and their side effects. They will also talk to you about the things you should consider when making treatment decisions.

    The first treatment for breast cancer is often surgery to remove it. Your surgeon will talk to you about having one of these operations:

    • Breast-conserving surgery

      Breast-conserving surgery is when the cancer and some surrounding normal breast tissue is removed.

    • Mastectomy

    You will usually need some, or all, of the lymph nodes in your armpit removed.

    Some women may be asked to decide if they want surgery to make a new breast shape during the operation. Others may decide to have this done later.

    We have more information about your operation. You may also need support when dealing with changes to your body after surgery.

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    Be My Note Taker And Advocate

    A year after having a stroke, New Jersey homemaker Florence Tweel, 55, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her first concern was her children, who were 12 and 15. “I needed all of my strength to focus on how I was going to get through this and tell my children,” Tweel says. “I was lucky to have a friend, Linda, who went with me to every appointment. She wouldnt let me out of her sight. It wasn’t my job to understand anything that was being told to me medically because she took notes on it and we’d go back to her husband, who is a doctor, to get advice.” Linda’s support gave Tweel the energy to be at her best with her family and get the treatment she needed. “She was a Godsend,” she says.

    Being A Good Listener

    A good listener tries to be aware of someones thoughts and feelings as much as they can. You dont need to have all the answers. Just listening to a persons concerns or worries can be hugely helpful.

    A good listener tries to really tune in and listen to a person in the moment. Listening is an important part of providing emotional support.

    Here are some tips on how to listen well.

    • Try to keep the setting private, relaxed and with few distractions.
    • Maintain eye contact but dont stare.
    • Let the person with cancer lead the conversation and try not to interrupt.
    • Give your full attention to what they are saying.
    • If youre finding it difficult or upsetting dont change the subject say how you feel, this can prevent any awkwardness.
    • If they cry, dont try to cheer them up. Reassure them that its OK to be sad and that its a normal response to whats happening to them.
    • A friendly touch of the hand can help but if they pull away give them space.
    • Try not to give advice unless they have asked for it.
    • Dont use humour unless they have used it themselves.
    • Silences are OK, dont feel like you have to fill them with words.

    This video has top tips from people affected by cancer on how to listen to someone with cancer. It is 54 seconds long.

    How to listen to someone with cancer – Top tips from patients

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    Distract Me With Little Surprises

    “At some point I must’ve told one of my co-workers about how when I was a child and I’d get sick my mother would always buy me a little gift,” recalls Aimee Johnson, 46, executive director of the Alabama arm of the American Diabetes Association. So, the first time she went to chemotherapy, Johnson’s staff had a little present for her. “And then every time I went to chemo, there was a giftNetflix to watch or a book to read while I was there,” she says. “Or flowers to take home.” A friend of Victoria Irwin’s bought her tickets to a concert series. “That was her gift to methe gift of distraction from treatment. Otherwise my days would have revolved around radiation in the morning,” Irwin says. “The little distractions help you feel normal.”

    Remember To Celebrate The Wins

    How to Support a Friend with Breast Cancer

    Fighting cancer is a long-term battle. One of the best ways to support the well-being of the breast cancer patient in your life is to stay optimistic and celebrate often. It’s easy to let the difficulty of a cancer journey make you feel down. However, celebrating small victories, like going for a walk, positive follow-up appointments, and good days can help improve your loved one’s quality of life.

    Having gratitude is a crucial tenant of mental wellness and can help improve medical prognosis. Make sure to remind your loved one of all the good things, so they don’t lose sight of them when the battle gets hard.

    A great way to celebrate the strength of the breast cancer patient in your life is with a small gift so she can remember to stay strong when times are thought. You can also give her a small piece of jewelry to remind them of your love. Make sure to buy jewelry made of non-reactive metals so that it won’t cause an allergic reaction to sensitive skin. One option is Alexis Jae’s unique pink diamond string bracelet that they released for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 100% of the proceeds go towards A Cure in Our Lifetime, an organization that supports innovative breast cancer research and treatments to find a cure as soon as possible.

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    Learn Who Else Can Help

    It’s important to know that you’re only one person and that it’s impossible to provide the wide range of support that a breast cancer patient needs alone. It would help if you familiarized yourself with agencies in place to provide various services designed to support breast cancer patients.

    The National Breast Cancer Foundation is one of the leading organizations dedicated to providing breast cancer support to women at all stages of the disease. The organization has programs that provide mammograms to women who need them and services that help breast cancer patients get the help they need. These services include support groups and educational programs to help women understand their medical records, risk factors, and treatment plan. The Foundation even provides support services for breast cancer survivors.

    The American Cancer Society also provides support to patients. It also works to expand cancer research through fundraising for research. The organization has funded many grants that have provided innovative clinical trials to find a cure for cancer.

    It’s also essential that you look for your own support network as well. Family members and caregivers of breast cancer patients are often put under a lot of stress when trying to help their loved ones. Many organizations like the ones listed above can assist you in finding the assistance you need, so you can continue to support the fighter in your life.

    Find Out Your Family History

    Women with a strong family history of cancer can take special steps to protect themselves, so its important for women to know their family history. You may be at high risk of breast cancer if you have a mother or sister who developed breast or ovarian cancer or if you have multiplefamily members who developed breast, ovarian or prostate cancer. A doctor or genetic counselor can help you understand your family history of the disease.

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    What Can I Do To Help

    Whether your friend or family member is newly diagnosed or in the midst of treatment, she’s unlikely to be wowed by vague offers or having to do your thinking for you. She has enough on her mind she has cancer. She may not want that tuna casserole or to hear about what treatment your Aunt Phyllis had either. So how can you help? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why we turned to survivors for our list of support dos and don’ts. Our patient-generated advice is sorted into three stages

    Diagnosis, Surgery & Treatment, and Recoveryidentified by Maureen Broderick, a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with cancer patients and run cancer support groups. Here’s what you need to know.


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