Karen wouldn't dream of being a day late for her yearly mammogram. Losing her mother to breast cancer left her totally committed to her yearly trek to her OB. She feels she should do all she can to prevent herself from contracting the big â€œCâ€. She also watches her weight in the hopes of staying out of the high-risk category. After her mammogram she meets her girlfriends for lunch. They discuss how dreadful it would be to hear the news of being diagnosed with cancer. Over a Cobb salad and diet soda (there's the weight watching), they furrow their brows and sadly imagine how they would get through this terrible ordeal if it came their way.
I'm not a big fan of chit chatting about the â€œwhat ifsâ€ of the big â€œCâ€. I'd prefer to chat about the big â€œRâ€, reality. Here's the reality of Karen's day so far. An annual dose of radiation does not reduce your chances of getting cancer. The cost of cancer treatment in the U.S. has almost hit $100 billion per year and this tells us the disease is far too common to allow ourselves to live in a fantasy world about it. Prevention should be a key strategy and that would include omitting known carcinogens such as nitrates (in the bacon in Karen's salad), MSG (in the salad dressing), and benzene (in her diet soda). As for the discussion that day, experiencing fear through commiseration about a weakness in your body is laying the groundwork or creating a disposition similar to that of living with the illness. The body goes where the mind takes it.
The best investment we can make in our long-term health is to feel a sense of gratitude and contentment. Maintaining a calm and peaceful disposition strengthens your immune system and wards off illness. Eating more organic whole foods is another smart investment. But, I think you already know that. It all comes down to choices; the choices we make when we order lunch and the thoughts we choose to think about and discuss with our friends.
A mammogram should be relied on for its real purpose and discussed with a doctor who cares and is well informed. Early detection creates better odds for treatment and of course we all want to do the right thing. Let's keep it â€œrealâ€ and keep sight of the power we have to make our own choices.
I'll see you in two weeks,
Love & health, Loa
LOA BLASUCCI is a certified sports nutritionist, personal trainer and fitness instructor.