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Cancer is an Ugly Word: Prevention and Help Tips

There’s no easy way to talk about it. Cancer is just one of those pure evil things that affects everyone in life, one way or another. Nearly 40% of people will have a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

Last year I lost my grandmother. Her and I were close, as we shared a love of travel and old movies. While she lived until she was 97, in her 80s she had a bad case of breast cancer. She has a double mastectomy and carried on though in remission for another decade or so. It was scary to see and be connected to personally. My father a few years later was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but they caught it so early he also is thriving and healthy. I’m sure you all have a couple of stories too, with your loved ones or yourself.

If it does happen to you or a family member, there are great resources available to handle the terrible situation. Some places, like the LOC, offer private treatment centers. There’s many new studies finding solutions to symptoms/cures and even holistic remedies that can help. Most hospitals have specialists too and resources available. Here’s some things you can consider if cancer has hit close to home.

Ways to Help Those with Cancer

Be Sensitive

Knowing a friend or family member has something like cancer can b a shock. We might feel upset and helpless. But it’s important to keep communication open and process our feelings in a healthy way. Also, don’t forget the person going through this! They might want to just hang out and be normal as possible, so stay kind and enjoy your time together no matter what.

Take Care of your Mental Health

Cancer is dark. It can seep into your mind and be all consuming. There’s been studies about how physical and mental health are intertwined, which is often why medical professionals encourage lots of love and laughter with their patients. It’s also why exercise is encouraged for those who are suffering from depression. Keep your mind strong and mentally take care of yourself and others going through a tough time.

Donate

So many companies, organizations and medical centers need donations (and volunteers) to survive. But please, if you’re going to donate, be critical about where your funds go to help those with cancer. For instance, only 21% of funds actually go to help people when donating to the Susan G. Komen ‘non-profit’. They are the ones who started ‘Pinktober’ and lots of pink-washed breast cancer awareness movements. Check out Charity Navigator to find the best organizations to donate to that have the highest impact.

Ways to Prevent Cancer

Cancer in all it’s forms can’t really be prevented. It can come on at any point in life, and later just in old age. However, healthy lifestyle habits certainly can keep you and your systems strong.

Enjoy whole foods and exercise. Fruits like grapefruit and apples, or vegetables like broccoli and bok choy are supportive of good habits that can help avoid cancer. Less body fat can mean less risk of certain cancers too.

Get regular screenings. Breast cancer is prevalent in women, and regular self breast exams should happen every month. Men over 50 should start having exams for prostate cancer at their primary car doctor. Screenings can be done at clinics and hospitals too.

Avoid tobacco and sun exposure. My mother had a scare with skin cancer recently from many years at the beach. Tans look good, but it’s not worth the risk, so choose a strong sunscreen every time you’re outside for long periods. Tobacco is a leading cause of cancer in the throat and lungs and best if abstained from all together.

Let it happen, know the facts, get support and be supportive of others involved. I hope if cancer hits you or your loved ones you can be ready to handle it and wade through the difficult time.

EileenCotterWright

Author EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA expat living in London, UK. She is a freelance writer and owner of group travel site PureWander.com. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for about a decade. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Twitter @Crooked_Flight.

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