While breast cancer is mostly associated with women, men can also be affected by this disease. If you are a man that’s been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, taking care of your health is paramount. While the treatment and recovery process might be your main focus, there are several steps you can take each day to support your overall wellness. Keep reading for more.
Understand the disease.
Male breast cancer does not discriminate. However, according to HIS Breast Cancer Awareness, there might be a genetic link between certain genes and an inability to repair damaged cells. Ask your doctor about genetic testing to search for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to see if you’re at a greater risk of passing a predisposition to male breast cancer along to your future children.
Get better sleep.
You are understandably stressed, and that can make it more difficult to settle down at night. But you have to sleep so that your body and mind can heal. Change your sleep environment by keeping the lights off and the temperature cool. If that doesn’t help, consider changing your bedding to a cotton option. Now is also a great time to look into unique options for bedding that let you make your room either relaxing or cheery. Consider ordering a custom design for your duvet, throw pillows, and sheets so that you can get exactly what you want without having to worry about what’s in stock.
Prioritize your mental wellness.
The emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis is huge, and it can be especially so for men. Take proactive steps each day to prioritize your emotional and mental well-being. You might, for example, consider seeking professional counseling or taking up a new hobby that helps you get your mind off of what’s going on inside of your body.
Watch your diet.
The old tried-and-true advice of maintaining a well-balanced and nutritious diet is worth repeating after a cancer diagnosis. After all, your body has to have the right nourishment so that it can handle treatment, which the Mayo Clinic explains might be surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy.
Stay (or get) active.
Physical activity has many benefits for men with breast cancer. Even if you’ve never been one to hit the gym before, look for exercises that work with your fitness level and that don’t go against your treatment plan. Strength training, walking, or even swimming are all great options. Keep in mind that you may have to avoid some activities during chemotherapy.
Stay in touch with your doctors.
Once you have a cancer diagnosis, you’ll likely begin seeing a specialist, known as an oncologist. Before your first visit, it’s a good idea to get organized so that you can share your medical records with your new healthcare team. You can do this either by scanning digital documents and sending them to your physician’s office or creating a portable medical binder that allows you to take important information with you so that you and your doctors can review it together.
Build your support network.
Your doctors are only a small part of your support network. Your family, friends, and even complete strangers can all help you stay mentally and physically well throughout your journey. Look for local events and online resources via patient advocacy organizations, and establish a network of trusted individuals that can help you get through everything from the diagnosis to the recovery stage.
As a man, you likely never expected to hear the words “You have breast cancer.” However, around 100,000 men are diagnosed with this disease each year. Make a point to take care of yourself throughout your journey by understanding the disease, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and building a support network that includes your healthcare team and others.
HIS Breast Cancer offers many helpful resources just like today’s post for male breast cancer patients and their families. Bookmark us, and visit often for the latest.
Editor, Scott Sanders