Facing the Risk of Cancer
I survived breast cancer in 1999, but due to family history, I later learned I still face the risk of another battle. From that perspective, I am sharing links to web sites that support the proactive lifestyle that I hope will reduce my risks and yours, too. Other links offer ways anybody can help cancer support organizations and the millions of people battling cancer. I believe we can all "Live Strong" for the benefit of others as well as to improve our own quality of life.
All three women in my family were diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer before the age of 50. I was three months away from celebrating my 5-year breast cancer survival anniversary when my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. With our mother's history of breast cancer and my sister's Laurie's diagnosis, the risks of more cancer for me were significantly raised. [Laurie died after a 2-year battle.]
Alerted by this knowledge, I signed up for every cancer screening available as well as "having my ovaries out" in 2004. My fitness-oriented lifestyle instantly evolved to a cancer prevention lifestyle. Below are some links that demonstrate my own efforts and hopefully help others at risk to live strong, too.
My cancer prevention lifestyle
- Danville: She's skating for her life (and yours) -- San Francisco Chronicle, August 13, 2004 by Charlie Earley. This story describes how I promote inline skating as one way to deal with cancer.
- A story in Outside Magazine warned that exclusively low-impact exercise eventually compromises the skeleton. After years saving my knees for skiing moguls, I've had to start jogging to keep my bone density up so I can safely continue my active lifestyle in my post-menopause years.
- The American Cancer Society recommends at least moderate activity for 30 minutes or more at least 5 days a week. However, 45 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous activity on those 5 days may further enhance reductions in the risk of breast and colon cancer. My weekly plan includes at least two sessions of formal aerobics on week days mornings along with the skating, skiing, hiking and backpacking we do on the weekends.
- To address the many non-cardio fitness components, I created a section on my web site, Off-Skate Training for Fitness Skaters. My simple beginning, intermediate and advanced workouts were designed to help anybody (skater or not) ease into a fitness lifestyle using simple at-home resistance, core strength, flexibility, balance, mind-body, and Yoga training.
- I follow the Zone diet to keep my energy levels even, my blood sugar down and my body fat low. It is characterized by less calories, starch and sugar than the normal American diet. In recent years a restricted calorie diet has been linked to longevity. Logically, in order for a body to survive on a low amount of fuel, it has to become more efficient with what fuel it does get.
Here's more on diet...
- American Institute for Cancer Research "is a cancer charity that fosters research on diet and cancer prevention and educates the public about the results," for example, the AICR's Diet and Health Guidelines for Cancer Prevention. Find cancer resources, carb-counting recommendations, news, published research, and healthy recipes.
- Recipes and Menus provided by Diana Dyer, cancer survivor and registered dietitian help you put together an eating plan to boost your immune system and reduce carcinogens in your diet. Her daily intake suggestions and soy shake recipe are provided online, and you can also buy her book, A Dietitian's Cancer Story.
- To the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF),"Knowledge is power and attitude is everything." Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and cycling champion Lance Armstrong, LAF offers practical information and tools to help people battle cancer and Live Strong. As of March 2005, over 33 million of the yellow bracelets were sold, funding cancer programs.
- FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered -- Provides women with resources todetermine whether they are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer due to genetics, family history, or other factors. Find invaluable resources, a chat board community, advice, and more.
- Cancer Genetics Network -- A national network of centers specializing in the study of inherited predisposition to cancer. Data collected from families with cancer or a history of cancer is made available to the research community to support their studies. Sign up to participate in studies by filling out a questionnaire and sending a blood sample, as I have done. I hope to help with early ovarian cancer detection and treatment studies.
- To find out more about cancer clinical trials, visit CancerTrialsHelp.org, sponsored by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups. They also provide a very useful clinical trial search engine, TrialCheck®, and worked with Newsweek to publish a special pull-out section that offers the latest information on Cancer Clinical Trials.
- September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month -- But you can promote awareness, spread the word, join the EyesOnThePrize.Org email discussion list, or become an ovarian cancer advocate at any time.
Apply your strength for everybody's benefit
- Help eradicate breast cancer by running or walking in a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®.
- Recieve training from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training® program so you can run or walk a whole or half marathon fund-raiser for victims of leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma.
- Abreast in a Boat is a non-profit society started in Canada that aims to encourage those living with breast cancer to live full and active lives. Dragon Boat Teams are made up of cancer survivors who train and compete in festivals and exhibition races. Look for one in your own area.
- In the San Francisco area, the Bay Area Dragons (BAD) trains for races such as the September 2009 dragon boat race in San Francisco. Those who join them need no prior experience or special fitness level. Visit the BAD web site for more info.