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There's a lot out there about the best ways to treat breast cancer if you're diagnosed.
But something that's a little more mysterious? Once you go through treatment and go into remission, how to stay cancer-free.
That's exactly what one of our audience members asked Dr. Kristi Funk, renowned breast cancer surgeon. (She operated on both Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow.) And this is what she said.
QUESTION: "As a breast cancer survivor, the scariest part for me was ending treatment and being sent out on your own. What do you tell your patients as they end treatment, about how they can stay on the 60 percent side of not getting it again rather than the 40 percent chance of getting it again?"
DR. KRISTI'S ANSWER: "I think the number's coming down, so there's good news there, on the recurrence rates. But I do have an entire chapter 10 [in my book, Breasts, The Owners Manual] dedicated to life after treatment. And what I would suggest to you and to any woman who has ever been affected by this disease — I want you to get back into all of the things that I say will help contribute to preventing breast cancer. Whatever I say to do there in terms of diet, nutrition, alcohol, obesity, exercise, etc., is going to help reduce — or even prevent — a recurrence."
Her tips, by the way, include:
—Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet with tons of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats like avocado
—Limit meat, dairy and eggs
—Exerce 30 minutes a day — or 5 hours a week
—Get down to a healthy weight
—Meditate, pray or deep breath for 20 minutes a day
—Choose family and friends who support and love you
"One of the things that's largely neglected, I think, in medical literature," she says, "is [that] there's no emphasis on social support and love and connectedness. But there is data to show that people live happier, healthier and longer when they have love in their lives."