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Did you know 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop some form of breast cancer in their lifetime?

Did you know there are as many as 10 different kinds of breast cancer?

Did you know breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in 15-39 year old women?

Did you know men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer?

Did you know breast cancer is the 2nd most common type of cancer in women?

Most of us have been affected by breast cancer in one way or another. Personally, family, friend, friend of a friend, the list goes on. Those affected have a life changing diagnosis but also access to a lot of support.

Breast cancer can be a shocking diagnosis to all those involved. The worry of treatment, costs, family care, reactions from others and potential mortality can cause chronic stress, anxiety and depression. All these feelings are normal but there is hope, research for prevention and successful treatment is being done regularly, one day breast cancer will not affect as many as it does now.

For those affected it is important to stay positive, active and healthy. Keeping a positive mindset is very important; according to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown positive thinking provides a reduced risk of death from cancer, reduced risk of death from infections, reduction of depression symptoms, greater resistance to illnesses and lower levels of distress and pain.  Reduce your stress with meditation, being thankful for something each day, and doing activities you enjoy with those you enjoy.

Some of the foods that are great to eat when going through treatment are anti-inflammatory and whole, nutrient dense foods. Examples are: vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, red bell peppers and spinach; fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, peaches, apples and pears; chicken, turkey and fatty fish such as salmon and trout; nuts such as almonds, pistachios, macadamia and walnut; fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and miso; herbs and spices such as oregano, parsley, thyme, turmeric and ginger.

Foods to avoid: Processed meats such as lunchmeat, bacon and sausage, fast foods, fried foods, alcohol, and refined carbs such as white bread, sugary baked goods and added sugars in anything.

Eliminate your use of toxic beauty/skin care products and cleaning producte. Those smell good lotions and soaps have some of the highest concentrations of cancer causing agents in them. Reduce your exposure to perfumes/fragrances, the chemicals in these products have high cancer causing agents. Avoid toxic cleaning chemicals; vinegar, water with a little bit of non toxic soap is a great alternative for cleaning.

For those supporting someone with breast cancer it is important to give them care and time. Let them know you are there for them when needed, just sit with them even if they do not want to talk. Suggest going for a small walk in the sunshine with them. Cook a healthy meal for them or even with them if it is something they enjoy.

As a caregiver, It is also important to make time for yourself. Do your favorite thing while they are taking a nap, read a book, get a massage, have coffee or lunch with a friend, take a bath, whatever it is you enjoy, make time for it. You can’t support them fully if you are not taking care of yourself.

Last but not least, acupuncture is amazing for both the breast cancer patient AND their caregivers. Studies have shown acupuncture was proven to reduce pain by 36%, reduce fatigue by 31% and reduce hot flashes by a whopping 50%. Acupuncture can also help reduce nausea and vomiting and help with anxiety and depression.  For the caregiver, acupuncture is calming, gives them time for themselves, decreases anxiety and depression can help with the fatigue they may have as well.

Together, we can all make a difference.