Breast Cancer prevention, Part 2 of 4

daBhang cafeIf you haven’t already, please read part 1 of this 4 part series.

I needed a few days to let my last post sink in to my own head, so I decided to take a break before posting this next part up. Also, the next pointer is going to be a real tough one for me so I needed to mentally prepare myself for it!

3. CanadianLiving.com suggest that the #3 thing you should do to lower your chances of getting breast cancer is to limit your alcohol intake. Crap on a stick! Granted, I actually don’t drink that much if you take my average the amount I’ve had over my entire adult1, but I’m pretty sure that limiting alcohol intake would include not binge drinking.

4. Ah, finally a tip that I should have no problem following: Eat more fruits and vegetables. Also, this tip helps counter my failure from tip #3. At least according to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Fruit and vegetables are meant to lower your risk of cancer in general. In particular Carrots, Broccoli, Zucchini, Cabbage2, Peas, Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes, Spinach, Garlic and Onions are your best allies in battling cancer. Now, I just need to work on increasing my daily vegetable intake!

5. The next pointer they give is one that’s always our minds as women, avoid the fat or more accurately eat the right fat. Omega-3 has been pumped into our brains enough by advertising, that I think even I3 knows by now that its good for your heart and overall health, and now I know that it also helps my breast health.

6. This next tip, has my eyes as large as saucers: Women must carefully consider HRT. I first heard about Hormone Replacement Therapy as my Mum went through meopause. I thought that HRT was necessary for women who going through menopause as their bodies no longer go through the menstrual cycle that helps keep the hormones cycling through our bodies as necessary. To find out that it could actually cause cancer?! GAH.

I suppose it makes sense, if you think about it, an increase in hormones in your body would logically increase your chance of getting cancer… but still. GAH.

*sigh* I think I’ll stop here to let these sink in4.

Did you learn something today?

Grilled Salmon image © woodleywonderworks

Footnotes:
  1. and perhaps teenage life[]
  2. ew[]
  3. an ignorant, by choice, consumer[]
  4. and to give me a chance to research this HRT thing further[]

Breast Cancer prevention, Part 1 of 4

©Porcelaingirl on flickr‘An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure’

Some of you may have heard this old adage, and some may have not; but regardless it stands true for any aspect of life. Being proactive is always better than being reactive. It’ll make for a more stress free life, and who really wants stress anyway?

I have to admit that I didn’t go very far in researching this, but you can all blame CanadianLiving.com for that. They have an article that provided me with all the information I needed on preventing breast cancer.

1. Their first piece of advice is to stay active. Something that I’m not doing too well with right now. I started working out a couple of weeks ago but soon lost interest since our ancient equipment at home kept giving me a sore bum. But luckily for me, you don’t have to be an athlete to prevent breast cancer.

The article says that even moderate activities like carrying the laundry, walking briskly while grocery shopping, carrying groceries, etc., can be helpful in staying active. Anything that gets your heart rate up a little and makes you sweat a tad bit. Here is what I learnt from this pointer: fat cells produce estrogen, and estrogen is what is responsible for most breast cancers. Shocking1.

2. Their second tip goes hand in hand with the first one, and that’s maintaining a healthy weight. Crap. I checked it out recently, and I’m overweight for my frame, age and height by 15lbs2. I don’t have weight issues, I always eat as much as I’m hungry for and that will never change. I’m not going to starve myself just to get into clothes… but I obviously need to start obeying tip#1 to get tip#2 under control.

There’s something about this pointer that really scared me, CanadianLiving.com has said that women who gain over 20lbs of weight are more prone to postmenopausal breast cancer. I know, I know I don’t have to worry about that for a long time but that’s the whole idea of prevention – you worry about it now so you don’t have to worry about it later! I gotta get my butt in gear!

Now, since I don’t like writing super long posts like a Monkey we all know and love, I’m going to end this with these questions:

Did you learn something today? How active are you?

Image © Porcelaingirl° {enthusiastic foolish}

Footnotes:
  1. no really, I’m not being sarcastic![]
  2. 14.6, but who are we kidding, it’s basically 15[]

Learning about cancer

©rachel a. k.The first thing I wanted to understand was what part of the breast was suseptible to cancer. I checked out a few different websites, one being The Canadian National Cancer Institute‘s website ((go figure)) and so far I understand that the breast is made up of different sections1 which contain smaller sections2. Each of these smaller sections3 contain organs that produce the milk that babies love. Mostly, the breast is made up of fat, and these ograns they’ve4 decided to call lobes and lobules. I didn’t mention nipples because, well… we all know they’re there. They’re the ‘duh’ part.

But the important part of the breast to keep an eye on when checking for cancer, is the lymph vessels. Apparently these lead to lymph nodes5 which carry bacteria, cancer cells and other harmful substances. These lymph nodes exist all over our body.

Now, I think even I remember learning in high school biology that our cells are constantly renewing in our body6. Tumors are formed when the system of cell renewal goes astray, as in when the new cells form before the old cells have had a chance to die and the old cells don’t die like they should. But as I’ve learnt from the TV dramas, not all tumours are cancerous. Some tumours can just be extra tissue… some… aren’t so happy7.

What was easy to understand was that unless caught and treated early, breast cancer can spread almost any other part of the body and that the most common parts they spread to are the bones, liver, lungs, and brain.

So how does it spread? What I first needed to understand was that the lympathic system is something similar to the nervous system or our veins and arteries but instead of carrying nervous cells, or blood it carries a fluid called lymph through our system. This yellowish, watery fluid containing white blood cells8, red blood cells and protein is important to our immune system health. Wisegeek compared lymph to a milkman who replenishes us with nutrients9 and takes away the empty bottles. Of course, this is one milkman who won’t sleep with your wife10.

Cancer can also spread through our blood stream; the not so happy11 tumours previously mentioned can break off of where they had originally grown and travel through the bloodstream12 until they find a suitable new home13.

Cancer can also ‘invade’ the healthy tissue surrounding it. This type of Cancer is usually ‘easier’ to get rid of if caught early enough and if all infected tissue is removed accurately. But, its said that it’s not a guarantee that the same type of cancer won’t form again in another part of the body and it would be completely unrelated to the first one.

Lastly14, there is apparently the rare instance that cancer can form as a result of something happening during a biopsy. A biopsy is the surgery performed to get rid of a malignant tumour… and sometimes, the needle being used to remove the tumour can drip onto other healthy organs and infect said organ15.

So! That’s what cancer is… and that’s how it spreads through our body. I hope you learnt something today, because I certainly did.

Have you gone pink for October?

Image ©rachel a. k.

Footnotes:
  1. the article called them lobes[]
  2. they called these lobules[]
  3. so the lobules[]
  4. the scientist geeks[]
  5. that strangely look like a lima bean[]
  6. that’s why we shed skin, and etc. If you didn’t know that, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you but we shed too… just like our cats and dogs[]
  7. these are called malignant tumours[]
  8. called lymphocytes — I know boring Jargon right?[]
  9. like those found in milk[]
  10. woh woh woh[]
  11. malignant[]
  12. mostly through the veins as opposed to the arteries[]
  13. damn bastards[]
  14. but not least-ly…[]
  15. WHAT?!![]

Resolutions

So I asked about what your resolutions were… but haven’t gotten a response. We decided to create some joint resolutions this year… and since I haven’t heard from you guys… I thought I would start it off and maybe inspire you:

Number 1: Lose weight
More specifically, he’s to lose a certain amount, and I’m to lose a certain amount. To announce how much would be too personal so I’m going to have to leave it at that. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to start with this immediately because I still have this bandage on my leg which means I can’t really do any exercise until it’s gone. The good news is that it is healing quite well.

Number 2: Save money
We both spent a lot of money in the past year and a half, and though my main reason for saving is just that I think it’s about time I put more money into my RRSP (ask me if you don’t know what that is)… he thought it would be a good idea for him to do it too.

And so… those are our New Year’s resolutions… care to share yours?

Hoping and praying…

… that all this walking will help me lose the little bump I’ve got going around my stomach area as well as the slight bit of cellulite that currently surrounds my thighs. It’s not much but it’s enough that I can’t fit into some of my favourite clothes and that just has to go. I hate shopping. I have had plenty of opportunity to shop in the last couple of days and I absolutely hate it. It’s so boring. Looking at all these different tops, bottoms, accessories… I prefer shopping with a purpose. If I need a pair of jeans, or a specific style of top. Y’know?

I haven’t done much but walk the past couple of days because getting into town and out of Gus’ estate is quite difficult. But I think I’ve got it all figured out now. Not to mention I finally got to recharge my iPOD Nano, which means I will no longer be tuneless. I was hoping to really get started on looking at rooms for rent tomorrow, but as I was registering myself at Immigration I discovered that my passport expires 3 months before my Visa does. So now I’ve to go into the Canadian Embassy and figure something out. I also have to go to the bank and pay €100 to register myself, because they only took credit cards or laser cards (uh, i think they’re kinda like debit cards).

That’s my update so far… not much news I’m afraid. Hopefully I’ll get to look at some rooms tomorrow. I’ve contacted a few that are in the area of the hotel, and I sure hope they’re good because I’d much rather walk to work than have to rely on the public transport here. *That* much, I’ve learned!

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