Removing the Big C

Introduction

RibbonCares wants to help women understand women’s cancers to help them reduce the risk of getting cancer in the first place and regain control of your life if you are diagnosed with cancer. That is why we have developed a toolkit to help all women individually and collectively. So there is something for everyone and their loved ones to help find and improve their sense of well-being.

Our researchers have put their effort into finding what we feel is the best and latest information there is available. We have included links to many websites which offer some excellent detailed content and references to research from the UK and the US. We have included American research because they spend nearly 10 times as much on research compared to the UK every year, and there is a depth of information on the impact of exercise, diet and other therapies on cancer.

Getting diagnosed is a real shock to the system which is why we are developing this toolkit to help you get over the fear and regain some control of the reins at such a difficult time. There is no easy way to put it, cancer is a devastating blow, one that takes time to work through.

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So what are the first things you should do – after taking a deep breath.

  • Find medical help that you trust and take the time to understand what they are offering – ask lots of questions of your doctors, get a second or third opinion until you understand and are satisfied. Understanding what is going on will help you make the most of the choices you are offered and feel more in control
  • Design a healing plan – explore the options on discussion forums, websites, bookshops as well as the great help offered by specialist charities.
  • Focus on lifestyle changes. A well known cancer survivor Kris Carr explains “the only thing you can control is what you eat, what you drink and how you move.” There are many different diets and alternative therapies like Yoga, massage, and meditation to boost and maintain your physical and emotional well-being.
  • Three goods things to look at straight away are:
    • Your stress levels, it is inevitable you will feel stressed so have a think on what would help you de-stress, there are plenty of different techniques.
    • Remembering to breathe – some simple breathing exercises can really help you manage the stresses of all the situation
    • Keep drinking plenty of water – keeping well hydrated will help support you.
  • Build up a support system – either face to face or online. There are many ways to speak to other cancer survivors who could understand what you are facing better than anyone.
  • Live! Kris Carr advises that we “don’t wait for permission to live. Just because you have cancer does not mean your life is over..” “Start living. It is simple.”

Living with Cancer – not dying from it

In the last forty years, cancers 10 year survival rates have doubled from 24% to 50% – there is a huge variation between types of cancer and individual cases but this can also vary person to person. Studies in the US have shown that simply understanding what is happening and what can happen can really help you manage stress and stay positive.

  • As you are the most important person, you need to focus on yourself. Helping you to find balance means everyone around you benefits.

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  • Family does not need to be blood, some friends and colleagues can be just as important as your family. This section will help you and them.

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  • Something we need to ensure does not add more stress to the situation. Getting cancer and getting over cancer can cause money related worries – this can help you plan ahead

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  • Time is equal to all but this sections will help you get the most from it. Ensuring you live in the present and reduce the stress of tomorrow.

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  • It is imperative that you have confidence at stressful times. Ensuring you can trust the medical advice you’ll receive, will make a huge benefit to you.

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Real life stories

The NHS runs a regular program to look for signs of breast cancer and two years prior to my discovering a lump in my right breast I had already had one ‘scare’ arising from that programme. I went to our GP without delay and she packed me off to the Nuffield hospital for a mammogram. The result came back quite quickly, in the following week as I recall, confirming my fears. I felt numb at first and then very frightened. I was aged 52 at the time.

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