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Be Aware


Article Posted by: Sherri Sacconaghi, October 9th, 2012



Seeing more of the color pink around town? October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A sentiment I spent years supporting in theory but not in practice.


I used to believe that breast cancer would not affect me. I was young and had no family history. So while I was more than happy to support the cause, I did not listen to the message. Until my annual exam 7 years ago. My doctor found a sizable lump in my breast. He asked, “ did you not feel this during your self exams?” It was hard to miss, so I had to fess up. I did not do self exams. And yes, that lump turned out to be cancer.


I promised if I survived this diagnosis I would be more diligent. I would be more aware and I would help spread the message of self-care and prevention. I was lucky, my cancer was slow- growing and treatable. So here I am, happily keeping my promise.


85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history. It can strike anyone. But there are things you can do to help prevent breast cancer from affecting you:


  • Maintain a healthy body weight. That is different for everybody but a good guideline is to maintain at Body Mass Index of under 25. Go to http://www.webmd.com/diet/calc-bmi-plus to calculate yours.

  • Minimize or avoid alcohol. There is a strong link between alcohol and breast cancer. Studies show that consuming more than one alcoholic beverage a day can increase breast cancer by 20%.

  • Eat Fruits and Vegetables. At least 7 servings a day. Cruciferous veggies such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli are most potent, especially when eaten raw or lightly cooked on order to maintain the cancer fighting phytochemicals.

  • Exercise regularly. As in 30 minutes minimum of moderate exercise 5 days a week. Walking, biking, swimming, tennis. Something you enjoy as the key is consistency rather than intensity.

  • Don’t forget fats. Yes, you read that right. Add Omega 3 fats from nuts/seeds/ avocado and fish. These provide you with selenium, a cancer protecting mineral.

  • Go Whole. Consumption of white food such as white bread, flour and sugar trigger hormonal changes that can negatively affect breast tissue. Stick with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat pasta as well as, beans and legumes.


And don’t put nurturing yourself on the back burner. Surround yourself with good friends and family, schedule time to rest and recharge, and aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

And don’t forget those monthly self exams, and annual physicals with a doctor. Breast cancer can happen to anyone, but with the right plan in place, that anyone may not be you.


Posted by: Sherri Sacconaghi
Certified Health Coach and Personal Fitness Trainer
Ph: 503 621 7549
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it e

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