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A supplement to the Daily Journal

Women with breast cancer may find comfort in support groups No woman should have to face breast cancer alone. There are a number of resources available that can provide support, such as family members, friends, doctors, psychologists and even social workers. But sometimes it takes more than the comfort of familiar faces to help you with your feelings of isolation and helplessness. That’s why support groups are so comforting and beneficial; they allow you to connect with others who are going through — or have gone though — similar experiences and struggles. From diagnosis to aftercare, breast cancer poses a number of different challenges for women. Each stage produces a variety of emotions that can be quite difficult to express and manage. If you have breast cancer, support groups can help you overcome these challenging moments by making you feel heard and, more importantly, understood. They can also help answer any questions you may have if the medical jargon becomes too overwhelming. You’ll be able to share experiences and concerns, as well as gain encouragement and support, which will be invaluable to you during the most trying of times. Most regions have breast cancer support groups. Your health care team will be able to provide you with more information about the support services closest to you. There are also a large number of websites dedicated to helping women with breast cancer. These confidential and anonymous forums bring together women of all ages and walks of life to share their experiences, establish emotional connections and create unique and lasting bonds.

Early Detection is Early, accurate detection is key to treating breast cancer. And now, the breast care experts at Parkland Health Center can see better than ever with 3D mammography. This innovative process yields multiple layers of high-resolution images, which when reviewed by our experienced team, means a dramatic improvement in catching cancer in its earlier and more treatable stages. And when mammography results require additional attention, our world-class team is here to provide the treatment and support you need.


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A2 | Saturday, October 14, 2017

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What’s the latest in breast cancer research?

Did you know that one in nine women are predisposed to developing breast cancer? Thankfully, researchers are always looking for new ways to help prevent, detect and treat this destructive disease. Every October, as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month people whether personally touched by the disease or not step forward and help raise funds and awareness in support of breast cancer research.

New methods of diagnosis

A key area of research looks at better ways to diagnose breast cancer. Currently, the most reliable method to detect the disease remains mammography screenings; however, the test is

subject to certain limitations. Here are three noteworthy examples of groundbreaking alternatives:

• Digital breast tomosynthesis detects cancer more easily in patients with dense breasts and helps radiologists see more clearly whether or not a suspicious area contains cancerous cells. This type of imaging may help lower the number of false positive and false negative results sometimes produced by standard mammography testing. • Radioactive seed localization helps doctors better target abnormal tissue in the breast that can’t be felt by hand. Radiologists implant the radioactive seeds in the area of concern during an

X-ray or CT scan to effectively detect the presence of cancerous cells.

• Circulating tumor cells are found in the bloodstream of certain women diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of directly targeting cancerous cells in the breast, doctors may perform a CellSearch circulating tumor cell (CTC) test to confirm a positive diagnosis. Do you have a strong family history of breast cancer? Have you previously received radiation treatment to the chest? Is your breast tissue denser than the average woman’s? Talk to your doctor about your personal risk of breast cancer and take advantage of screening tests available in your area.

Researchers are always looking for new ways to detect breast cancer. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, take action and get screened.



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Saturday, October 14, 2017 | A3

Fertility preservation and breast cancer treatment Hearing the words “You have breast cancer” can trigger a whirlwind of emotions, especially among women of childbearing age who still want to grow their family. Cancer treatments risk leaving women infertile; however, ongoing research into fertility preservation methods is increasingly offering cancer survivors the possibility of having biological children post-treatment. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society, this annual health campaign aims to raise awareness of the causes and consequences of the disease and provide women across America with the information and support they need to have the life they’ve always dreamed of.

chemotherapy) or delay pregnancy, giving eggs time to age naturally (e.g. hormone therapy).

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has found that for women less than 35 years old, frozen eggs have just as good a chance at creating life than frozen embryos.

Fertility preservation options

If you’re a young woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor may recommend the following courses of action to ensure a bright reproductive future: • In vitro fertilization (IVF). Colloquially referred to as the “test tube baby” technique, IVF stimulates the growth of eggs, collects them and fertilizes them in a test tube to create embryos, which are later implanted in the woman’s uterus. • Frozen embryo transfer (FET). FET is a cyclical treatment that involves thawing frozen embryos from previous IVF cycles (or a donor) and transferring them back into the woman’s uterus. FET is considered the most effective fertility preservation strategy to date; however, women who are single or not yet married may feel more comfortable freezing eggs that haven’t yet been fertilized with their partner or an anonymous donor’s sperm.

How does treatment affect fertility?

A woman needs an adequate number of healthy eggs in her ovaries to get pregnant naturally. These eggs are all made before she’s born and spontaneously die with age; however, invasive drugs and forms of treatment can damage and kill eggs prematurely (e.g.

How does breast cancer Visiting someone with breast cancer? affect your bones? Keep this in mind When visiting someone with a serious medical condition — like breast cancer, for example — we sometimes do or say the wrong thing, despite our good intentions. If you’re looking to bring someone comfort in their time of need, follow these pieces of advice:

• Always call before your visit, even if the rendezvous was planned. It’s possible that the person may not be well enough or in the mood for visitors. Should this be the case, don’t take offense and suggest another day for your visit instead. • Always be willing to lend an attentive ear. Mute your cellphone and don’t interrupt. Let them talk freely and respect their moments of silence. Avoid giving medical advice or comparing their situation to someone else’s. And no matter what you do, don’t pretend to understand how they’re feeling (unless you’ve been diagnosed with cancer yourself) or say that everything will be alright. Instead, ask them how they’re feeling and let them know you’re there to help, however that may be. • Remember that it’s your presence that counts; you’re not obligated to uphold a conversation. If neither of you feels like talking, consider doing an activity together instead like watching a movie curled up on the couch. Furthermore, acts of compassion like a warm embrace often speak louder than words. • Lastly, don’t exhaust your host by overstaying your welcome. You could also take advantage of your visit to offer more concrete support like accompanying your ailing friend to their doctor’s appointment, preparing their meals, taking them shopping, etc. Better yet, why not organize an outing to the movie theater or spa to help them clear their mind, if only temporarily? However you choose to offer your support, try not to exhaust yourself in the process — your own health and well-being are just as important.

meat, etc.). Did you Calcium is know that essential for breast cancer maintaining treatments strong, healthy could affect bones, while patients’ bone vitamin D d e n s i t y ? allows your Indeed, both bones to better chemotherapy absorb calciand hormone um. It’s equally therapy destaimportant to get bilize bone enough exermarrow and cise, as physiweaken bones cal activity in addition to reducing ovari- Breast cancer treatments could weaken your bones — consult your plays a vital role in mainan function healthcare professionals for preventive advice. taining healthy and, consequently, levels of estrogen (a hormone that bones. To stay active without draining too contributes to the development of healthy much energy during treatment, prioritize bones). It’s estimated that women who low-impact activities such as walking. Lastly, consult your healthcare team undergo breast cancer treatment lose between two and four per cent of their for support! Your doctor, nurse, pharmabones’ calcium within the first year of treat- cist, nutritionist and physiotherapist can ment. (This loss is even more apparent in all provide valuable advice on how to betpremenopausal women.) Furthermore, ter care for your bones, both during and bone deterioration accelerates in women after treatment. There are also tests that measure patients’ bone density and evalalready experiencing osteoporosis. Therefore, if you’re currently undergo- uate the risk of developing osteoporosis. ing treatment or are about to start, make If needed, certain types of medication can sure to adopt a well-balanced diet rich in help strengthen bones and prevent calcium (milk, cheese, lentils, vegetables, degenerative disease. Make sure to get etc.) and vitamin D (egg yolks, fish, liver informed.

The importance of eating right post-treatment After undergoing treatment for breast cancer, eating well should become an essential part of your daily routine. A healthy diet helps keep treatment-related side effects at bay and allows your body to regenerate more quickly. But is it necessary to follow a strict diet plan? Not necessarily. There is currently no evidence to suggest that certain types of foods reduce or enhance the risk of breast cancer relapse in patients. Therefore, simply making healthy, well-

See EATING / Page 6

To help your body restore itself after cancer treatment, it’s essential to adopt a healthy and well-balanced diet


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How to communicate your emotional state following a diagnosis People diagnosed with breast cancer often find it difficult to express how they’re feeling for several reasons: discomfort, fear of upsetting loved ones, anger, etc. However, keeping your emotions bottled up inside consumes a great deal of energy that would be better used to fight the illness. Sharing your feelings could help you manage stress and provide you comfort in a time of need. Therefore, whenever you’re ready:

• Talk to someone with whom you feel comfortable. If it’s too difficult to speak to a loved one about your diagnosis, consider joining a support group. • Don’t be afraid to cry or experience intense emotions like anger. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to feel following a cancer diagnosis.

• Try to describe how you’re feeling in simple terms to facilitate the conversation and allow the person you’re communicating with to better understand your mindset. If you’re having trouble formulating what you’re feeling, just say so. • Don’t fear silence — it’s actually an effective coping mechanism. And if you’re usually one for jokes, don’t hesitate to use humor to help dissolve tensions when confronting difficult situations. Is talking about your diagnosis too painful? Writing (emails, poems, etc.) and making art (sculpting, painting, etc.) are equally constructive when it comes to self-expression. Lastly, if you’re tired of constantly having to repeat yourself, ask


Breast cancer takes the lives of thousands of loved ones every year. Don’t let it happen to you. Early detection is the most effective means of defeating breast cancer and improving treatment.

Talking about your diagnosis is important — don’t waste valuable energy keeping your feelings bottled up inside.

someone to be your spokesperson and deliver personal messages or

status updates about your condition on your behalf.

A breast cancer Q&A

The Pink Ribbon campaign has made breast cancer a somewhat familiar topic for most of us, and yet there are still many false beliefs about the disease that persist. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), here are some answers to the If you have further questions about breast cancer, talk to your most-asked quesfamily doctor or visit tions.

If my doctors detect breast cancer, will I have to get a mastectomy?

These days, if the cancer was detected early on, there’s a very good chance you won’t need one. There’s evidence that lumpectomies with radiation are highly effective in treating early-stage breast cancer.

If I find a lump in my breast, what are the chances it’s cancer?

The NBCF says that only a small percentage of lumps turn out to be cancerous. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so talk to your doctor, and keep in mind that the survival rate for early-detected, localized breast cancer is 100 percent over five years.

If my mother had breast cancer, will I get it?

According to the NBCF, only ten percent of women who are diagnosed have a family history of breast cancer. Nevertheless, if there has been breast cancer in your immediate family, or if an aunt or grandmother was diagnosed, talk to your doctor about diagnostic image screening.

Does using antiperspirant increase my chances of getting cancer?

To date, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have not found any conclusive links between aluminum-based antiperspirants and incidences of breast cancer. MAIN BANK

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Talking about your breast cancer with your employer, human resources department and/ or co-workers is a personal decision, and one that is entirely up to you. However, you might want to consider discussing it with at least some key colleagues, especially if you’ll be requiring time off to You decide how much you want to share with your colleagues when receive treatment or if it comes to your cancer. you’re having difficulties the moment they’re diagnosed, while carrying out your daily tasks. others choose to start treatment first. When it comes to breast cancer in And depending on their treatment prothe workplace, each individual and their tocol, some women prefer not to talk particular situation is different. Certain See WORKPLACE / Page 7 women prefer informing their employer

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Preventive mastectomies: A personal decision

It’s scientifically proven that physical activity helps prevent breast cancer.

Getting fit, having fun and feeling fantastic

Studies show that exercise reduces the risk of developing breast cancer and can also contribute to a successful remission from the disease. By regularly engaging in physical activities of moderate to high intensity, you’ll be combatting adipocytes — or fat cells — that can play a role in the development and progression of this disease. What’s even more encouraging is that every woman, even those diagnosed with cancer, can begin an exercise program almost overnight. Ideally, you want to choose an activity you can do five times a week for 20 to 30 minutes. It could be walking, running, biking, swimming, yoga, tennis or tai chi, it doesn’t matter; the important thing to remember is to choose an activity that you enjoy and that gets your heart rate going. You’ll start to feel better after the very first day. As you progress, you’ll have more energy during the day and deeper, more restful sleep at night. In addition, physical activity helps to combat fatigue and anxiety, which are commonly associated with cancer treatment. It can also reduce the risk of lymphedema, a condition that affects nearly 20% of breast cancer survivors. You should make a point of fin-ding entertaining ways to improve your physical fitness. This might involve group training, dancing, using a pedometer or playing with the kids or pets. Making your workout fun and enjoyable will be a big source of motivation and will help you stick to your goals. If you don’t know where to begin, a professional such as a doctor, kinesiologist or physical therapist can recommend a workout that’s safe and suited to your current physical health.

A preventive (or prophylactic) mastectomy is a surgery used to remove one or both breasts as a precautionary measure to prevent breast cancer from occurring. It’s intended for women carrying the associated gene mutation and who are thus at very high risk of developing this type of cancer. And though this procedure greatly reduces their chances of developing breast cancer, it’s nonetheless an extremely difficult decision for these women to make. A preventive mastectomy consists of removing all of the breast tissue, which is the affected area where breast cancer develops. There exist three types of surgeries: total, skin-sparing (which conserves as much as the breast skin as possible), and nipplesparing mastectomy (which preserves the entire skin envelope, areola and nipple). Each procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to discuss the limitations of each surgery at length with your doctor to avoid regretting your decision. Incidentally, most preventive mastectomies involve breast reconstruction. Mammoplasty usually occurs immediately following surgery. The surgeon will enlarge the tissue using an expander to make room for the

Preventive mastectomy is a difficult personal decision.

eventual implant. Studies show that this type of procedure reduces the risk of breast cancer by up to 95% in women carrying the genetic mutation. However, mastectomy can involve unfavorable conse-

quences on your self-confidence and your relationship with your body. That’s why opting for this surgery should never be done lightly. It’s a personal decision that must be given much consideration.

Breast cancer, sexuality and intimacy Women with breast cancer can sometimes develop anxieties, fears and even complications when it comes to their sexuality. Rest assured that it’s entirely normal for you to have difficulty being intimate, regardless if you’re single or in a relationship. However, it’s possible to have a healthy and satisfying sex life during and after treatment. Here are a few helpful guidelines to keep in mind regarding your sexuality.

• Hormone therapy, chemotherapy and ra-diotherapy can negatively impact your sex drive. These treatments can leave you feeling fatigued, anxious, or unattractive. If they do, talk about it with your partner. Open and honest communication within the couple is the best way to renew an intimate relationship. • Don’t be shy about discussing your sexual health with a member of your health care team. Various treatments can sometimes help if you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms that are hindering your intimate relationship. • Be patient and lenient with yourself. Re-main open to changes and to the different ways you can explore your sexuality. Most of all, work with your partner. Work together to find ways to satisfy your individual needs. Holding, kissing, hugging and

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touching are alternate ways to satisfy your desire for closeness when physical intimacy isn’t possible. Not all women who have breast cancer experience sexual problems. However, many who do are able to maintain a sexually active lifestyle once they begin to manage the effects of their treatments. If cancer is significantly impacting your sexuality, the most important thing you can do is talk about it, with your doctor and with your partner.

Check yourself to protect yourself!

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A6 | Saturday, October 14, 2017

Accessories to help you keep your head up ing, straightening, waves, etc.). On the other hand, this type of wig is heavier, requires more complex care and is much more expensive than a synthetic wig.

Hair loss, or alopecia, is one of the side effects of some breast cancer treatments. To get through this often emotionally difficult period, use a few accessories that suit your style, and be sure you have them on hand before your first chemotherapy session.

Scarves and turbans Opt for a natural fiber such as cotton, linen or bamboo to protect your scalp. These fabrics allow better airflow and are less likely to slip than scarves made of synthetic materials. Visit specialty shops to choose a couple of headscarves that suit you, and contact a cancer support group to learn how to tie your scarf or turban in different ways. Until your hair grows back, alternate your favorite finery according to the season, your activities and your mood.

Synthetic hair Wigs made of synthetic hair have a very natural look these days. Affordable, lightweight and easy to maintain, they come in a wide range of pre-styled cuts and colors. Keep in mind that they cannot be styled with heating devices and their color can’t be changed. Natural hair Wigs made from human hair give incomparable results and can be modified in all possible ways (streaks, curl-

We tip our hats to all you courageous women out there.

A few stylish accessories can make it easier for you to deal with your hair loss.

Tips for looking after your nails and skin Many treatments for breast cancer have side effects that affect the health and appearance of the nails and skin. Read on to learn how you can pamper yours during this transitory period.


Nails are especially vulnerable to damage during and after chemotherapy. They may become brittle and break, develop lines and ridges, change color and sometimes fall out. Here are some guidelines to follow until your life returns to normal. 1. Keep your nails short; use an emery board rather than nail clippers. 2. Wear protective gloves for housework or gardening. 3. Massage your nails and cuticles with

a moisturizing cream on a regular basis.

4. Use nail polish that contains ingredients that can be tolerated by people undergoing cancer treatments. 5. Apply a protective polish that contains a sunscreen. 6. Remove polish weekly with a mild solvent that doesn’t contain acetone.


Cancer treatments often result in skin rashes, redness, dryness, itching, etc. There are some things you can do to prevent these problems. 1. Protect your skin from UV rays by using a high SPF sunscreen.

Nails and skin need special care during breast cancer treatments.

2. Avoid products that contain alcohol, perfumes and other irritants.

4. Apply moisturizer generously all over your body, morning and night.

3. Drink eight glasses of water daily, in small portions.

5. Cleanse and moisturize your face daily with products for sensitive skin.

Eating Continued From Page 3 balanced food choices is enough to help get your health back on track. After all, we all know that maintaining a healthy diet helps lower the risk of developing certain types of illness (cancer, diabetes, heart disease,

etc.). Make sure to eat your recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables — which are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants — and limit the amount of meat and fats you consume. Furthermore, studies

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suggest that certain soybased products (tofu, soy milk, miso, etc.), which can be consumed up to three times daily, improve survival rates among breast cancer patients, especially postmenopausal women. Treatments like chemotherapy and hormone therapy could respectively cause weight loss or weight gain in patients. A nutritious diet (combined with adequate exercise, of course) could help you maintain or regain a healthy bodyweight and speed up recovery. Additionally, studies seem to show that survivors of breast cancer who are considered over-weight generally do not live as long as those who manage to maintain a normal body-weight following treatment. If you have questions about your diet, don’t hesitate to consult your healthcare team or dietician for support.


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Saturday, October 14, 2017 | A7

Two ways to reduce your stress levels after a diagnosis Being diagnosed with a serious illness such as breast cancer can generate an endless series of emotions like worry, fear, anger or sadness. Here are two simple ways to facilitate healing by reducing this stress.

Cardiac coherence

The practice of cardiac coherence has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years or so. By controlling the heart beat through breathing exercises, the patient helps the brain recognize the message to lower the production of cortisol, also called the stress hormone. Anybody can use cardiac coherence exercises; all you need is a quiet place, free of distractions. • Sit comfortably facing a timer, clock or watch that counts seconds. Alternatively, you can count off the seconds silently, in your head. • Inhale through your nose for five seconds while relaxing and expanding your abdomen. • Exhale through your mouth for five seconds while pulling in your stomach and emptying the lungs. • Repeat this cycle continuously for three to five minutes. • Repeat three times daily.

Color therapy

The therapeutic benefits of art for people with mental or physical illness are well proven. That is exactly why anti-stress coloring is gaining popularity around the world. There is evidence that

Restorative sleep helps facilitate recovery from breast cancer. Coloring is a relaxing and pleasant way for women with breast cancer to reduce stress.

coloring patterns, such as pre-printed mandalas, is a relaxing way to reduce stress and increase self-esteem. Artful coloring books and mandala coloring books can be bought at bookstores, department stores or businesses specializing in art materials. Why not give it a try?

The benefits of a beauty routine Women with breast cancer (or other forms of cancer) often tend to avoid social activities for fear of being stared at. When treatments and tiredness leave their mark on a woman’s face, it can undermine her self-confidence. Fortunately, a beauty routine tailored to your needs can change everything.

Is breast cancer preventing you from sleeping?

Pain, anxiety and the side effects of treatments tend to disturb the sleep of people with breast cancer. The following eight tips will improve your chances of recovery by helping you sleep better. 1. Talk to your doctor or oncologist about your sleep problems. After asking you some questions, your specialist may give you advice or prescribe a medication that will relieve your pain and help you sleep. 2. Discuss your concerns with people you trust during the day in order to feel less stressed at night. 3. Wear comfortable sleepwear and keep extra blankets close by.

The basics

The careful use of makeup during treatments doesn’t cure cancer any faster, but it can help improve self-esteem and keep your spirits up. To look your best, stock your makeup bag with products like these:

4. To prevent insomnia, try not to sleep for extended periods during the day. However, it’s okay to treat yourself to a short nap in the afternoon.

• A cleansing milk for sensitive and fragile skin • A rich moisturizer for the face Using makeup during breast cancer treatments can help keep your spirits up. • A foundation that blends perfectly with your skin tone, on the face and they’ve fallen out • A hypoallergenic mascara or one for sensitive below the jaw • A concealer that is slightly paler than the foun- eyes • Neutral eyeshadows (beige or brown) dation • A natural and unobtrusive blush to emphasize • A lip balm and a moisturizing lipstick cheekbones Cosmetologists, estheticians and professional • An eyebrow pencil to define or redraw them makeup artists are a great source of advice completely if they fell out during treatments about the best makeup techniques; some of • A dark colored pencil eyeliner to emphasize the eye or to create the illusion of eyelashes if them even specialize in post-treatment care.

5. Go to bed only when you feel sleepy. Otherwise, your brain will eventually associate lying down with insomnia, which is obviously not what you want. 6. Still not asleep after 30 minutes? Get up, leave your bedroom and go do something a little boring and monotonous. Only go back to bed when you feel sleepy again. 7. Avoid heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine in the hours before bedtime. 8. To relax before going to bed, do some relaxation exercises, listen to quiet music or ask someone to give you a massage. Sweet dreams.

Workplace Continued From Page 4 about it at all. You can always ask your doctor for advice if you’re having trouble deciding what to do. Should you opt to discuss your cancer, you’ll likely encounter a variety of responses. Some will offer you their support and words of encouragement,

while others might have up-setting or hurtful reactions. It’s quite possible that certain colleagues might begin avoiding you or questioning your ability to perform your work. Others might ask if your cancer is contagious or even inquire as to how long you have

to live. Keep in mind that people’s reactions are more about them than about you. Never feel pressured to share information. You’re the one that gets to decide what you share and what you keep private. Always be honest and vocal about




what you really want. Tell your colleagues if you prefer not discussing your cancer at work or if you want to keep in touch while you’re undergoing treatment. Be sincere and remember that other people’s emotions can differ from your own.

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A8 | Saturday, October 14, 2017

Breast cancer causes and risk factors

Research into breast cancer has shown that its origins include a variety of potential causes and risk factors. Although many of them are biological and non-preventable, some others can be eliminated, prevented or controlled by changing certain lifestyle habits.

Non-preventable causes

The physical causes of breast cancer that have been identified are as follows: • Age (increased risk after the age of 50) • High breast density • A personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer • Genetic mutations associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes • Taking the postmenopausal hormones estrogen and progesterone • A history of benign breast disease (cysts, hyperplasia) • The early onset of menstruation or late onset of menopause

Preventable factors

On the other hand, some causes of breast cancer are closely related to personal lifestyle choices. Here is a partial list:

It’s best to get straight to the point when telling your children about your breast cancer diagnosis.

How to talk to your children about your diagnosis “How on earth am I going to tell my children?” This question haunts all mothers who have just received a breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, psychologists, cancer survivors and social workers have established some ground rules to facilitate this step.

Choose a good time

When you’re ready to break the news, wait until all your children are gathered together in a familiar place. This approach has two advantages. First, it allows all of them to hear the same information simultaneously. It also prevents any one child from feeling excluded or hurt by hearing the news after his or her siblings.

Tell the truth

When the time comes, avoid long preambles and get straight to the point. After announcing

your diagnosis, take the time to ensure that your children have understood the information you just gave them. Even though the subject is a difficult one to deal with, silence and denial won’t help them understand or accept the situation. Be candid and explain to your children all the steps you’ll have to go through in the coming months (treatments, side effects, operation, etc.) Encourage them to ask any questions that are worrying them.

• Alcohol consumption • The use of oral contraceptives for several years • Physical inactivity (a sedentary lifestyle) • Excess weight and obesity in adulthood • Smoking and prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke • Late pregnancy (after the age of 30) Please note that these risk factors are not all equally weighted. Get all the information you need about your particular circumstances before changing your lifestyle. It’s always a good idea to consult a health professional as well.

Read to them

Breast cancer is a pretty abstract concept for young children. To help them better understand, read stories to them that deal with this delicate subject in simple terms. You can find several beautifully illustrated books in bookstores, through breast cancer support groups or at your local library.

You can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by changing some of your lifestyle habits.

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