Monday, October 22, 2007

Tips for coping with breast cancer

Life for a breast cancer patient can be a lonely one within. Besides having to deal with new treatments and possible side effects, a patient can feel the need to appear strong for family, friends and even herself.While support from loved ones is irreplaceable, women may also find it comforting to tackle the experience with the help of professionals available for free throughout the city.Nonprofit and government support programs can harness a breast cancer patient's wellness with everything from free counseling to support groups to activities such as yoga, cooking and even self-hypnosis. Others may turn to hotlines or online support with questions about treatment, doctor referrals or financial aid.
Coping techniques

Research shows that psychological help can aid physical condition as well as mental health. By easing stress or depression, treatment may encourage better relationships, engagement in additional treatments, exercise, nutrition and sleep. At support groups, patients can also learn from others' coping techniques when dealing with children, spouses or side effects.


We all know the benefits of exercise. For breast cancer patients, it can boost feel-good endorphins and help patients change focus from plaguing thoughts. Gentle aerobics workouts, like classes offered at the free cancer support center Gilda's Club, are beneficial for post-reconstructive surgery patients.A new craze taking mats by storm is laughter yoga, which can actually boost natural killer cells, which attack some types of cancer and tumor cells. In this practice, yoga poses and breathing are interspersed with forced "ha," "hee" and "ho" sounds.Laughter yoga involves the skeletal system, heart and lungs."It's hard to make yourself laugh, but then something goes off and you can just feel it," said Nicole Ohebshalom, holistic counselor and laughter yoga instructor.

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