By Amber Presely, MD Anderson Staff Writer
While you spend time with friends and family and celebrate our veterans this Memorial Day weekend, don't take a vacation from making healthy choices. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your chances of developing cancer, so make the holiday a healthy one.
Use these tips to stay healthy and help prevent cancer.
1. Fit in activity
Taking a family road trip for the long holiday weekend? Try to schedule time in your trip to stop for a bike ride or brisk walk. Or get the family moving by kicking around a soccer ball or throwing a Frisbee for a few minutes.
Sitting less and adding more activity to your day can help lower your risks for many cancers. Get more tips to make your road trip healthy.
Recently by Cancerwise Blogger
By Amber Presely, MD Anderson Staff Writer
By Janice Rightmer
In early February 2011, my husband Ken was living his life normally.
Just a few weeks later, things took a turn for the worst when he had to go to the ER with jaundice.
Blood work, x-rays and an ultrasound revealed a tumor in his pancreas. His cells were biopsied and tested positive for pancreatic cancer.
Our local doctor said he had three to six months to live.
Getting a second opinion at MD Anderson
Having grown up in Houston, we'd heard about MD Anderson. Unable to accept the first doctor's prognosis, we gave them a call.
When I lived in Houston 50 years ago, it seemed like there wasn't much hope when people went to MD Anderson.
But as we discovered during our first visit, it's now a place where hope abounds.
By Brandie Sellers
The recent revelation that Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy and reconstruction to minimize her chances of developing breast cancer is causing quite a buzz. It seems that the public is supportive of this measure.
As for me, I don't know what I would do in her shoes.
I don't have the BRCA gene for breast cancer. Yet I got diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37.
Ninety percent of women who receive a breast cancer diagnosis do not have the BRCA gene.
For me, because I had a huge tumor, it wasn't a question of whether I would have mastectomies or not. It was a foregone conclusion.
Some women who receive a breast cancer diagnosis are candidates for a lumpectomy, and that can have the same positive outcomes in many cases as having a mastectomy does.
By Linda Ryan
Because I had recurring cervical cancer after seven years, my two experiences with cervical cancer were very different.
When I was originally diagnosed with cervical cancer, I was 36 years old and the mom of two boys. We weren't sure our family was complete and were hoping for another baby when I was told that I would need a hysterectomy.
I was devastated by the news. I mourned the loss of another baby, but as the years passed I couldn't imagine our family any different than it was.
The importance of screenings and early detection
My initial cervical cancer was found during a routine pap test. It was stage 0, and the treatment was a hysterectomy. No radiation or chemotherapy.
Recovering from the surgery wasn't easy, but I was able to drive again after two weeks and back on my feet fairly quickly.
When people asked what they could do for me, my answer was often, "Go to the doctor for your annual exam."
By LeAnne Gibbs
Aside from the birth of our daughter, our life has been a flood of awful since my husband Francis was diagnosed with colon cancer.
Yet, under all this runs a strong current of beautiful moments, lessons and experiences.
On April 11, we met with an admissions specialist for hospice care. This was a big step because it felt like giving up.
This was an equally difficult and simple decision to make.
By Yackjaira Ruiz
Every year, I rack my brain with what I will get my mom for Mother's Day. This year I was thinking of a pair of earrings. If I ask her what she wants for Mother's Day, she would say "for you to be good."
That has been the answer she has given for Mother's Day, her birthday and Christmas for as long as I can remember. And yes, even at 26 years old, that's still her answer.
Three years ago, almost to the day, my mother, Yackdale (Jackie) Ruiz, was diagnosed with breast cancer. From that moment on, the meaning of Mother's Day changed for me.
The new meaning of Mother's Day
Before my mom's cancer diagnosis, I had always thought Mother's Day was all about her and showing her how much I loved her. In reality, Mother's Day is about me.
By Staci Waites
It's no secret that cancer treatment can cause changes in your appearance. Experiencing those changes in front of middle school students, however, can be a challenge.
In addition to being a mother, wife, sister and daughter with cancer, I am also a middle school teacher.
That means I had 400 students with ring-side seats to my journey through treatment. The teacher in me had to portray strength and stability, but the patient in me was vulnerable and scared.
Middle school students are at an age where they're aware of what cancer is. Some may have a family member who has been through cancer treatment. Some of their parents work in the medical field. Regardless of their own experience, "cancer" is a very scary word to kids at that age.
By Allyson Hendrickson
On our fourth wedding anniversary, I gave my husband the happy news that we were going to be parents. Our son, Cole, was born in January 2002, followed by two more boys, Cade in 2004 and Austin in 2005. I began to refer to the boys as my "little cowboys," and the name stuck.
The days when they were babies went by in a blur. I was exhausted, my house was a wreck, everything I touched was dirty or sticky or grubby -- and I loved my life. Each of my little cowboys could melt my heart with just one word: "Mommy."
In June 2007, when my sons were 5, 3, and 1½ years old, some unusual pain landed me in the ER. Several tests were inconclusive, but they raised enough suspicion that my ob/gyn thought it a good idea to do an exploratory surgery to check for ovarian cancer.
The morning after the operation, the doctor said six words that changed my life: "I have bad news. It's cancer."
By Anne Balson
"Nurses are angels in comfortable shoes."
-- Author Unknown
My appendix ruptured the summer after my freshman year in college. This was a big deal back in the fifties; I was in the hospital for over a week.
The nurses made a tremendous impression on me - all starched and serious with little caps, white stockings and squishy, spotless white oxfords.
Beginning in October 2011, I spent 15 months in outpatient cancer treatment at MD Anderson. The nurses, again, were extraordinary. But what a difference the decades have made.
Now there were smiles and colorful scrubs, and almost everyone was wearing Crocs and socks.
By Linda Ryan
I'm working hard to get back to my pre-cancer fitness level. I've struggled to find motivation to run the way I did before and during chemotherapy treatment when my cervical cancer recurred.
Oddly, I found my running rhythm during a weekend that was so tragic for our country and a city I love.
It has been 17 days since I walked down Boylston Street past the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. I was on Boylston Street 10 minutes before the explosions that killed and left many people injured.
I'm blessed and was blessed on April 15 to not have been injured that day.
I can say with certainty I walked by the two men who committed the horrible crimes in Boston.
By Sujit Prabhu, M.D.
Brain surgery requires precision and excellent judgement on part of the neurosurgeon for good patient outcomes. We neurosurgeons try to remove as much of the brain tumor as possible and return patients to their full functional capacity.
The most common type of brain surgery for a tumor is a craniotomy. On average, this operation, takes four to six hours. Below, I've answered some common questions about brain surgery.
How do you decide if a brain tumor patient needs surgery?
The decision depends on the patient's brain tumor symptoms, the tumor location and the type of tumor, if known. In a small number of patients with certain benign tumors no surgery is required. In most instances, however, we make the decision to operate at the initial visit and schedule the operation within seven to ten days.
What are the pre-operative procedures and medications for a craniotomy?
By Joey Tran, MD Anderson Staff Writer
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases, according to the American Cancer Society. Making healthy food choices may also help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your body in fighting shape if you do have cancer.
However, making healthy choices can be challenging when you're dining out. That's especially true if you're eating here at MD Anderson, when you already have many other things on your mind.
To make the best out of your healthy dining experience at MD Anderson, Ashley Smith, health and wellness manager of the department of Dining Services, has provided the following smart-eating strategies.
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- 4 ways to celebrate a healthy Memorial Day
- My husband's pancreatic cancer treatment: A cancer caregiver's story
- Preventive double mastectomy: A breast cancer survivor's take
- Cervical cancer patient: My journey from diagnosis to recurrence
- How a colon cancer caregiver learned to live in the moment
- Celebrating my mom after her cancer diagnosis
- Teacher copes with cancer with student's support
- My ovarian cancer diagnosis: My journey to heal
- MD Anderson nurses: The heart of the hospital
- Cancer survivor: What I learned about myself at the Boston Marathon
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