Most women don't believe that they will get breast cancer but sadly statistics say otherwise. There's a rising incidence of breast cancer in India and awareness and early detection are key to tackling the disease. Many breast cancer survivors have shared their stories about how to cope with the disease mentally and physically. And while the initial diagnosis is tough to deal with, there are numerous ways in which you can overcome the shock, fear and mental agony. Remember – you are a survivor and you will make it.
10 things to do when diagnosed with breast cancer:
- It's tough but focus on leading a normal life.
- Reach out to other women who are undergoing treatment or are breast cancer survivors.
- Ask your friends for help and support during this time.
- Don't get on the internet and search for answers – your doctor is the best person to guide you.
- Develop new hobbies and interests so that you can meet new people.
- Practise meditation, yoga or some form of exercise. If you are inclined, turn towards spirituality. It helps relieve the stress.
- Don't worry about the treatment and stress – remember you are in good hands.
- The disease is life-changing – accept that and see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Learn more about managing the disease, and post-treatment, make lifestyle changes as required.
- Be positive.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) has estimated that nearly one-third of breast cancer cases can be prevented with weight control, exercise and limiting alcohol consumption. So if you lead a healthier lifestyle then it reduces your chances of getting the disease. Many Hollywood celebrities, like Angelina Jolie, have spoken about the disease and some have even been treated successfully, like singer Sheryl Crow.
Here are some ways to reduce breast cancer risk:
- If there's a family history of breast cancer, get regular mammograms done from the age of 30.
- Make lifestyle changes. Eat nutritious food, exercise for 30 minutes every day and limit alcohol consumption.
- Keep stress levels low.
- If you are asked to take hormone replacement therapy, speak to your doctor about alternatives or how it can be kept to a minimum.
- Keep your weight in check.
- Breast-feeding is considered a factor in reducing the chances of breast cancer.
- Avoid smoking.
- Early detection is key so do a breast self-examination at home every week.