Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Surviving
THE FOUNTAIN IN DOWNTOWN SWAINSBORO, DYED PINK
If you have passed through The Crossroads of the South in Downtown Swainsboro this week, you may have noticed that our fountain is dyed pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The month of October is dedicated to bringing attention to the disease, as early detection and intervention is critical. In last week’s edition of The Crossroads Chronicle, Lea Ann Williams shared her experience with us, and we were provided several useful statistics concerning breast cancer. This week we will be exploring the world of breast cancer survivors.
“Survivorship” is a personal term, with definitions ranging from officially being completely cancer-free following treatment, to living through and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Survivors agree that survivorship begins at diagnosis, and is a phrase that will continue to describe them for the rest of their lives. Survivors share a strong will, extreme determination, and a powerful spirit.
Survivors of breast cancer are faced with a wide array of strong emotions, including joy, empowerment, guilt, sadness, relief, and fear. Survivors encounter an extreme change of life through the time of diagnosis and treatment. Fear surrounding reoccurrence, remaining effects of treatment, fertility concerns, worries of genetic disposition, disruption to finances, and workplace challenges plague survivors during the same time they rejoice beating the disease. Healthy coping for survivors is of utmost importance. This includes finding and relying on a support system, introspective thought, and not rushing changes.
Survivors are held to a high standard of healthy living. No smoking or drinking, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, regulating a healthy weight, and regular, appropriate exercise are critical for survivors to maintain their well-being.
Caregivers of survivors face an intense period of change as well. While the caregivers previously may have been heavily relied on by the survivor, their dependence lessens and/or changes with beating the disease. A survivor may face the need for emotional support more so than physical support during their transition to being cancer free.
More resources on survivorship and breast cancer can be found on cancer.net and komen.org.