As I age, my attention goes more frequently to health and wholeness. Many of my friends, colleagues, and family members have begun to deal with illness—specifically, cancer. I am struck with the many different types of cancer and will focus on two to increase our awareness of these two types. I also want to encourage “conscious health and healing” and learning to respect the “inner physician” that resides in each and every one of us.
When we address women’s health, we naturally think of maintaining healthy habits that help us minimize conditions like breast cancer. According to Dr. Christine Horner, “breast cancer has reached epidemic proportions. Once a relatively rare disease, it now affects 2 to 3 million American women. The incidence is going up at an alarming rate.” In her book, Waking the Warrior Goddess, Dr. Horner elucidates actions we can take to protect ourselves from this type of cancer. She recommends healthy foods, specific supplements, adequate rest and exercise, and an overall avoidance of those things that are known to have negative effects on our bodies.
When we look at the health concerns in men, we tend to focus our attention on prostate cancer and how to prevent this disease. To date, there is less attention paid to this type of cancer than breast cancer in women. Prostate cancer is a malignancy that develops from the cells of the prostrate gland. The prostate gland is a male sex gland about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and therefore must be attended to with the same care that women attend to the risk factors that may cause breast cancer.
Your best defense against prostate cancer is in part information. Learn all that you possibly can about the disease and your personal risks. Look into early options for detection tests that will help you make informed decisions about your health and options for care. Remember that men of color have twice as high a death rate from this disease as white men. A high fat diet is a factor that increases your risk for this type of cancer and, of course, a family history of the disease can be an indicator of risk as well.
I believe that it is important to attend to our bodies, minds and spirits to recognize more clearly any signs that may be present to the dis-ease that may arise in our selves. Although it is vital to attend to any cancer allopathically that arises in the body, it is equally important to care holistically for the body so as to prevent as many of these dis-eases as possible and to augment the treatment that may be required for the healing process of these dis-eases .
In the “care and feeding” of the human being, we need to be concerned with enough exercise, enough rest, enough work, enough play and the right amount of nutrients and supplements. I have continued throughout this column to talk about balancing work, play and self-care; if we are faced with a serious health crisis, these issues become even more important.