October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Did you know 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime?
It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women, but it doesn’t mean women can’t take charge of their health.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of detecting breast cancer early. More and more people are surviving thanks to awareness and early detection raised through this campaign. You may notice people wearing a pink ribbon which represents hope for the future and the charitable goodness of people who support the breast cancer movement.
At Shanti-Som we hope to raise awareness through this short article, please read on and share.
First and foremost – early detection saves lives.
Breast cancer screenings are extremely useful in detecting cancer early. The American Cancer Society recommends clinical breast exams every three years for women between 20-40 and annually for women 40 years and above.
Breast Cancer is non discriminant and risk factors increase with age and hereditary disposition. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention suggest the following ways to lower your risk of breast cancer:
- Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
- Don’t drink alcohol, or limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, ask your doctor about the risks.
- Breastfeed your children, if possible.
There’s been plenty of research and personal anecdotes on the best way to overcome breast cancer such as natural remedies and Western medicine. Above all, keeping our bodies in an optimal healthy state gives the body its best fighting chance.
Benefits of Yoga for fighting Breast Cancer
As a mind–body discipline, yoga is claimed to offer physical, mental and spiritual benefits. According to a study on “Yoga for Patients with Early Breast Cancer and its Impact on Quality of Life”, the following were noted:
- Positive physical and psychological effects in different cancer patients.
- Yoga programs for breast cancer patients showed improvements in physical well-being, social function, emotional health and functional adaption.
- Yoga programs can reduce distressing symptoms in patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer
- After completing hatha yoga, constraints on physical activity were reduced and fitness was found to be improved in breast cancer survivors.
- Yoga has also been shown to be beneficial in reducing chemotherapy-induced side effects compared with other supportive therapies.
- Women with breast cancer showed a cognitive improvement after participating in yoga programs. They reported less fatigue when undergoing breast cancer treatment
- Patients often found improvements in emotional outcomes and in quality of life.
- Anxiety and depression was reduced with yoga interventions compared with supportive therapy following surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
In 2006, results of a yoga study were reported from an M.D. Anderson Cancer Center study. The study followed 61 women receiving 6 weeks of radiation treatment for breast cancer. Half the women took a yoga class twice a week; the other half did not. Compared with the women who did not take yoga, the women in the yoga group reported having more energy and less daytime sleepiness, better physical functioning, and better overall quality of life.
Benefits of a Retreat for Breast Cancer
A massage therapist and Pilates instructor, Bridget Hughes was diagnosed with breast cancer despite keeping a very healthy active lifestyle. After two and a half years battling the disease she has created The Pastures. This is a weekend retreat in the Berkshires that assists women with breast cancer both physically and mentally. She created this space for women to come and support each other, as well as share lessons learnt in battling various treatments.
Bridget focuses on helping women get ready for surgery and getting back on their feet afterwards. She believes the best way to prepare bodies for treatment is ‘Cardio cardio, cardio. Prepare the body like you’re a prizefighter going into the ring because it really is about upper body and arm strength. Eating a clean diet, cutting back on alcohol and sugar. And visualizing that you’re going to come out of this on the other end.‘ At The Pastures Retreat there are many different classes such as Yoga, Pilates, dance movement, cooking and nutrition, as well as support groups and relaxation treatments in their spa facilities. A holistic approach to healing the body, mind and soul.
Ultimately, a Wellness Retreat can provide a secluded haven for solace, rejuvenation and renewed energy and positivity.
From Shanti-Som we wish Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti meaning ‘Peace of mind, Peace in speech, and Peace in the body’ to all the strong women fighting and staying strong x