This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society but opinions expressed are 100% my own.
There is nothing scarier than hearing the words from a loved one… I have cancer. But cancer prevention and regular screenings can save lives.
I remember hearing my mom on the other end of the phone line, a fear in her voice I have only heard a couple times before in my life as she barely made out the words that they had found a lump at her latest mammogram. At the time, I only heard slurs of words, doctor, tests, biopsy, chemo, radiation, mastectomy…
It all became a jumble of words and phrases I could barely process.
I was paralyzed by the thought that my mom may have cancer.
Learning someone you love might have cancer is the scariest thing in the world to endure. If you have had to hear the words cancer in your life, my heart goes out to you. It is absolutely terrifying.
Over the next few weeks, my mom underwent tests and biopsies and it was confirmed that the lump was indeed cancer. My lovely mom had breast cancer.
After complete removal of the cancerous lump, my story has a happy ending.
Early detection saved my mom.
My mom only had to endure the removal of the lump and a month of radiation. Cancer is big and scary and it lurks in our deepest thoughts and fears. But the greatest way to combat our fears is not with ignorance but with bravery and truth.
As we age, annual checkups can be something we avoid like the plague. We may pass them off without a thought claiming we “feel” fine and there is nothing wrong with us. My mom felt fine too but she had no idea that cancer had started to grow within her.
So go get the check-up anyway! Know your family history, and talk to your doctor about your cancer risk and what screening schedule and test options are right for you.
I myself am the worst at this! I freely admit it! But after my mom’s scare, you can BET that annual prevention screenings are on the top of my to-do list, especially now that there is a history of it in my family.
Knowing when to be screened and how often to be screened can save your life. It saved my mom’s life and now I am a firm believer in its importance.
Please take the time to review the recommended screening guidelines so that you know when and how often you should be screened. The American Cancer Society offers a complete guide HERE.
Besides early detection, there are several other ways that you can help lower your risk of getting cancer to begin with.
- Maintain a healthy weight – many cancers are linked to being overweight or obesity. This can be best reached when you include a healthy diet and exercise as part of your daily routine.
- Be Active! – Adults should get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, or a combination of the two. Not only will being more active help keep you at a healthy weight and help prevent some forms of cancer, but it’s also just good for your soul. So if you are not currently active make it a goal to move a little more every day! If you need ideas for easy at home workouts I have several available HERE
- Eat Healthy – Make sure to include foods rich in nutrients and low in calories
- Load up on all those delicious fruits and veggies and choose lean proteins, like chicken, fish or legumes, and limit red and processed meat.
- Limit Alcohol Use. If you do drink, limit your amounts of alcohol because it has been linked to some forms of cancer. American Cancer Society recommends no more than one drink a day for women, and two drinks a day for men.
- Pretty Please Do Not Smoke- I love y’all so please do not smoke! it is one of the most well known and totally avoidable causes of cancer. And if you do, there are many resources to start a plan to quit.
- Protect Your Skin From The Sun: Skin cancer is scary, but with proper skin protection, the risk can be mitigated. Seek the shade and use sunscreen! Apply (and re-apply) as directed and wear a hat!
Cancer is big, ugly and scary. But by taking control of your health and taking the time to make it a priority in your life, you can help reduce your overall risk.
For more tips on screenings and even more tips on reducing your risk for cancer head over to the American Cancer Society website. They are an amazing resource for the prevention and treatment of cancer.