We are all unique, and staying healthy and preventing illness is different for each person. Eating healthy, exercising and learning stress reducing strategies help most people to feel healthier.
Integrating healthier habits into your life is important, but can be difficult. Some people are more successful if they make small changes over a long time period. Others find that a major overhaul in how they live is more effective. In general, the most sustaining motivation is to feel better.
There are no clear causes of breast cancer and, therefore, no proven way to prevent the disease. This can provoke uncertainty, fear and anger. It is this fear of the unknown and people's passion to find causes that fuel breast cancer advocacy and research.
Even though there is no proof that healthier living can prevent breast cancer, it is believed that decreasing your exposure to things that are harmful and increasing healthier practices may lower the risks. These practices have been shown to help people improve their energy levels, decrease the incidences of other illnesses and enhance their overall sense of well being. There is ongoing research to study the impact of lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, support and stress management.
Lifestyle change begins with a personal commitment to feel and be healthier. It is often difficult for us to care for ourselves because we usually care for others. The following series of questions may prompt an exploration.
Imagine a process of self-inventory:
- What are my self-care skills? Do I take care of myself last? What advice would I give me if I were my best friend, sibling or child?
- How am I eating? Am I dieting, feeling deprived, sneaking junk food, feeling guilty about eating the "wrong" stuff, feeling confused about what are the right and wrong foods to eat? Do I drink enough water?
- Do I sleep well? Can I sleep well? What interrupts my sleep and rest?
- Do I smoke cigarettes? Do I drink excessive alcohol?
- What are the stressors in my life? What can I change? What can I respond to differently?
- Do I move my body? In which ways of moving do I feel the most pleasure? How, when and where do I fit it in my life?
- What is making me feel badly? What are the barriers to changing that?
- What do I love? What moves me and gives my life meaning? Do I make room or time for that which gives my life meaning? What stirs my creative juices?
Whenever life is difficult, it is both harder and more important to care for oneself. Lifestyle change is not a written prescription that never changes. It is a dynamic process. The first and biggest step is to care enough about yourself to pursue what you need. This is self-care.
At the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, we hope to provide you with information and support that will enable you to explore ways of feeling better. You can teach us what works for you. This lesson will enable us to hold your experience and communicate your teachings to other women.
Basic Facts About Breast Health:
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.
Breast Cancer Glossary
Check out our comprehensive Glossary of Breast Cancer terminology, which includes definitions of everything from AC chemotherapy to peripheral neuropathy.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Click now to find a summary of the factors that increase risk for developing breast cancer, including both factors that we cannot change and those we can.
Self-Care and Recovery
Self-Care and recovery resources including an Introduction to Lifestyle Change, Nutrition and Breast Cancer, Hydration: Water and Health, Meditation and more.
Breast reconstruction, surgery to rebuild a breast's shape, is often an option after mastectomy and is covered by some health insurance plans. Learn more now.
Mastectomy: Instructions Before Surgery
The following information will help you prepare for your upcoming Mastectomy surgery. If you have any questions, please contact the Breast Care Center staff.
Mastectomy: Instructions After Surgery
Post Mastectomy surgery instructions including, pain management, incision and dressing care, activity, diet, follow-up care and more.
Menopause and Breast Cancer
Breast cancer treatment often causes women to enter menopause prematurely. Although each woman reacts to therapy individually, certain side effects are common.
Metastatic Breast Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment
Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that originated in the breast and has spread to other organ systems in the body. Learn more here.
Navigating Your Path to Breast Care
Different services and information are needed at different points in breast health care and breast cancer treatment. Learn more here.
Osteoporosis and Breast Cancer
Women who have had breast cancer or are considered at high risk for developing breast cancer are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Learn more.
Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer
The UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center and the Department of Radiation Oncology have compiled information about radiation therapy for your convenience.
Knowledge may lead you to take action to protect your health and that of other women you care about: your mother, daughters, relatives and friends. Learn more.