The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, other than a few types of skin cancer, breast cancer is the number one cancer-related threat for women.
With 237,000 receiving this diagnosis annually, women learn that they have this particular cancer four to five times more often than uterine and bladder cancer and approximately 19 times more often than cervical cancer.
Sadly, more than 41,000 will lose their battle with this dreaded disease every single year, with Hispanic women facing the biggest threat as breast cancer is the top cancer causing death for this demographic. Men aren’t immune to breast cancer either as statistics provided by the CDC indicate that approximately 2,100 males will receive this diagnosis and 465 will lose their battle with this type of cancer yearly.
Chiropractic and breast cancer
Though chiropractic care isn’t necessarily the first treatment method that comes to mind when you hear the words ‘breast cancer,’ one research study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that approximately 83.3 percent of the 453 cancer patients surveyed engaged in at least one type of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). Of these, 59.2 percent engaged in CAM options related to movement and physical therapies and 62.6 percent used vitamins and herbs.
This means that chiropractic can play a critical role in a cancer patient’s treatment regimen. It also means that, with October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, your office is in the perfect position to do your part in this nationwide effort to help men and women alike learn more about and better cope with this disease.
1. Provide patients’ information
The first thing you can do is educate your patients about breast cancer. Share with them the statistics mentioned earlier and talk to them about how they can reduce their risk. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, this involves encouraging them to maintain a healthy weight, eat a nutritious diet, stay physically active, and moderate their alcohol consumption.
While other risks are genetic and based on factors such as increased age or a family history, it’s important to stress that there are still many things a person can do to lower their breast cancer risk.
2. Connect them with available resources
Secondarily, if one of your patients is struggling with breast cancer or trying to support a family member or friend who has just received this diagnosis, it also helps to connect them with available resources as they trek on this often scary journey.
This could be by way of telling them of a local support group, helping them find a therapist or counselor who specializes in cancer-related diseases, or maybe suggesting they talk to the leader at their church. If you’re unsure what resources are available, you can contact the National Cancer Institute’s Contact Center-Cancer Information Services at (800) 4-CANCER (800-422-6237) or the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Helpline at 800-227-2345 directly and create a list that you can hand out to your patients.
3. Celebrate the survivors
Another way to honor National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to celebrate the survivors. Take the month of October to honor the women and men who have battled this disease and won. One option is to mention their names in your monthly newsletter or display them on a board in your office. Or, you could go one step further and give each one a small bouquet of flowers when they come in or a certificate for a complementary adjustment or massage as your way of acknowledging the hardships they faced and were able to overcome.
4. Participate in a fundraiser
With so many breast cancer awareness walks occurring annually, it’s not too difficult to find one close to you. Enter your office as a team and raise funds to help support cancer research or to provide better patient care services. Place a collection jar on your counter and give patients a discount on your products or services if they donate. And if you can’t find a local walk, create one. This brings awareness to your business along with breast cancer awareness, making this particular option one that serves many great purposes and helps many great people along the way.