Speakers Encourage Lifestyle Changes to Battle Breast Cancer

Women register at the Breast Cancer Forum on Thursday, October 29, 2015.
Women register at the Breast Cancer Forum on Thursday, October 29, 2015.

Surgeon Dr Braimah Kassim believes a more holistic approach to breast cancer treatment is needed.

The physician was one of the featured speakers at the annual Breast Cancer Information Forum  on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.

Dr Kassim said one of the first steps in handling a diagnosis was to adopt a healthier lifestyle. He challenged the belief that a mammogram was a preventative measure, noting a clinical exam and analysis of breast tissue was the only way to confirm the presence of cancer.

The surgeon noted that with all of the advancements in health care, the incidences of cancer were not being reduced. He said this suggests that no one side has the entire answer and so a more integrated approach to treatment plus a lifestyle change was needed. He added that in order to get an all clear, there was a need for people to take command of their health.

Also presenting was the Honourable Member of Parliament and physician Dr Ingrid Buffonge who cautioned against being anxious and stressing when dealing with a possible health challenge. She added that a good support system of family and friends, speaking to your health care provider along with exercise and healthy eating had benefits to dealing with the outcome.

The doctor said her profession had made her a believer in God and the power of prayer and the importance of gratitude to healing. “Finding a lump or feeling pain is not a diagnosis of breast cancer. When we worry we can make ourselves ill. Having a positive attitude is really important.”

Naturalist Merle Galloway shared that there were significant health benefits to be derived from eating more living foods. She explained that she got into juicing after dealing with a severe skin problem and saw how quickly her body changed once she changed how she ate.

“When our bodies are too acidic we are more likely to be sick. We need to get our bodies in a more alkaline state, which we can get by eating more greens.”

Galloway, who hosts a radio programme called Vitality is Yours said local guavas have five times more vitamin C than orange juice but marketing has conditioned us to believe that the bottled juice is better. Barbados cherry she said had 25 times more vitamin C, however we are unaware of this. She encouraged everyone at the forum to learn more about the foods and vegetables grown locally and how they can be more beneficial to health and healing.

When you are feeling a headache get hydrated and rest, rather than reach for an aspirin, she added.

The forum is part of the Pink Ribbon Charity week of activities, which began on Wednesday with a charity dinner at Olveston House and will conclude on Saturday night with the Pink Ribbon Walk. Proceeds support the mammogram fund which allows women on Montserrat to get the diagnostic tests done freely on Antigua.