BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. But despite everything we’ve already learned about Breast Cancer, tragically far too many women die from Breast Cancer every year. We know that healthy women are an integral part to a healthy thriving community, which is why we take seriously our responsibility to educate women and men about the best ways to screen for and treat breast cancer.

Globally, Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women and the second most common cancer overall.

The studies show that in the United States, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive Breast Cancer during their lifetime. The risk increases if you’ve had a first degree relative with breast cancer, if you have a personal history of breast cancer, or if you are a member of certain ethnic groups. Unfortunately, Breast Cancer outcomes are also affected by a host of societal factors such as socioeconomic status and timely access to high quality healthcare.

The American Medical Association recommends that all women should be eligible for screening mammograms starting at age 40. Mammograms don’t prevent cancer, but they help save lives by catching Breast Cancer in time to do something about it.

Breast Cancer is a Qualifying Condition

In the State of Florida, Breast Cancer is a qualifying condition for the use of Medical Marijuana. With so much information out there about the medical uses of cannabis, it can be difficult to separate facts from fiction.

We’d like to start by setting the record straight about what Marijuana can and cannot do. Although many Cancer Survivors consider Cannabis a miracle drug, there is not enough data available at this time to support claims that it is a cure for Breast Cancer.

Cannabis is, however a very safe and effective way to manage many of the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany Breast Cancer and its treatment such as Nausea, Appetite Loss, Depression/Anxiety, Insomnia and Chronic Pain.

Relieving Nausea when being Treated for Breast Cancer

Nausea can be a debilitating side effect of many breast cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, other targeted therapies, and pain medication.

Medical Marijuana is a reliable way to manage nausea while undergoing treatment for Breast Cancer, especially when combined with modifying what you eat, and other holistic techniques to reduce nausea such as meditation, breath work, and aromatherapy.

Treating Insomnia so you get the rest your need to recuperate

Whether anxiety-induced, or a side effect of cancer treatment, not getting enough sleep at night can wreak havoc on your waking hours. Sleep is precious. And so many of your body and mind’s recovery, and regulatory processes occur throughout your sleep cycle.

Many breast cancer patients use cannabis as part of their sleep ritual – an intentional process geared towards putting your mind and body at ease, allowing you to fall asleep easily and stay asleep throughout the night. Whether a great indica dominant strain of cannabis flower, or a tincture with a specifically formulated ratio of CBD to THC, humans have literally been using cannabis for thousands of years to improve rest.

Stimulate your Appetite during and after Breast Cancer treatments

In addition to the nausea experienced by many women undergoing breast cancer treatment, loss of appetite is another very common side effect. Although appetite loss won’t affect everyone, your nutrition is of the utmost importance to a speedy recovery. Food not only provides the building blocks to heal your body’s injured tissues, it is also the fuel that moves your body and powers your brain. People with a very low appetite that lasts more than a few days usually lose weight. Losing weight from not eating enough can often make a person feel weak and have fatigue, which may affect their quality of life and ability to do usual activities. It can also affect how you respond to cancer treatments.

Medical Marijuana has been shown to be a safe and effective way to improve appetite, and there are several FDA approved treatments such as Marinol (Dronabinol) that are based on synthetic THC. Fortunately because Cannabis is legal in Florida, qualified patients have access to the whole cannabis flower, which contains the natural version of THC – the major compound on which the synthetic medications are based. Whole cannabis also has the benefit of the “Entourage Effect” from the unique combination of 100s of botanical compounds that are only contained within the plant.

Managing your Pain during and after Breast Cancer

Some breast cancer survivors deal with chronic nerve pain years after they’ve completed their treatment. This is called Post Mastectomy Pain Syndrome, or PMPS, and it happens in up to 30% of women after breast surgery. Many survivors report that cannabis is effective in managing their symptoms, including pain, without some of the unwanted side effects of other treatment options.

A diagnosis of Breast Cancer can change things forever for the patient and her/his loved ones. Survival is a team effort that places the patient at the center, and surrounds them with loving and compassionate supporters. The best outcomes start with the patient’s mind and body being prepared to endure a long, difficult journey, and continue fueled by the optimism that they will emerge stronger on the other side. With a medical marijuana card you have access to the entire library of cannabis strains, each with its own unique characteristics leading to specific therapeutic benefits, and a unique experience by the user.

Combating Depression and Anxiety during your Treatment and after.

A clear mind, a healthy mood, and a positive outlook on life have a huge impact on your cancer survival. Unfortunately, many women diagnosed with Breast Cancer have to bear the additional burden of depression, anxiety, or both.

The cause of the depression or anxiety can be multifactorial, and is often related to the gravity of the diagnosis itself. Many of the common treatments for Breast Cancer, including chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, removal of ovaries, and some pain medications can also lead to depression and/or anxiety.

Several studies show that Cannabis, especially CBD, is very effective at decreasing anxiety. Although more research needs to be conducted before we fully understand the effect of cannabis on depression, studies suggest that a majority of medical cannabis users report that it is helpful for depression.

A diagnosis of Breast Cancer can change things forever for the patient and her/his loved ones. Survival is a team effort that places the patient at the center, and surrounds them with loving and compassionate supporters. The best outcomes start with the patient’s mind and body being prepared to endure a long, difficult journey, and continue fueled by the optimism that they will emerge stronger on the other side. 

With a medical marijuana card you have access to the entire library of cannabis strains, each with its own unique characteristics leading to specific therapeutic benefits, and a unique experience by the user. 

To get your medical marijuana card or to find more information about how breast cancer survivors are using cannabis to improve their quality of life, call or book an appointment.

The following organizations provide useful, actionable information: