October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this Sunday a wonderful event is taking place on the River Nore.
The Paddleathon is being organised by the Nore Dragon Paddlers and it is a two-fold event - to celebrate life and to remember those no longer with us.
People can duck and dive and try to avoid cancer but it is impossible. One in ten women in Ireland will be diagnosed with breast cancer and by 2020 one out of two of us will get a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime.
So it is essential that as a community and a society we get busy supporting people living with cancer. Fortunately for the vast majority of people who get a cancer diagnosis the future is bright.
Research, clinical trials and radical surgery are all helping to pave the path to a better prognosis for people living with a cancer diagnosis.
What is often forgotten about when it comes to supporting and providing services for people with cancer is the aftermath.
Long after the surgery is over, the chemotherapy ended and the radiotherapy finished there is condition that unfortunately can rear its ugly head. Its name is lymphedema and it is a common secondary condition of cancer after lymph nodes have been removed during surgery. It is a life long condition for which there is no cure.
There are however many treatments which can help - manual lymphatic drainage, compression garments and exercise. When it comes to upper arm lymphedema research has shown that paddling is an excellent way of helping to reduce and manage lymphedema.
Dragon boating can help with complications that arise post-breast cancer surgery. Often after surgery, lymph nodes are removed which causes lymphedema. This can cause the affected arm to swell up and become extremely uncomfortable.
Research has shown that repetitive upper body exercise such as paddling helps control lymphedema in women who have had breast cancer.
The Nore Dragon Paddlers in Kilkenny provide an excellent support for women living with a breast cancer diagnosis. Paddling is a fun, healthy way of passing a few hours and there is a wonderful sense of comradery in the group.
This Sunday go down and support this event - cancer is not something to be shunned or be afraid of - it has touched you or most likely will over the coming years. If or when it does you will hopefully find support in groups like the Nore Dragon Paddlers or Cois Nore Cancer Support Centre, which provides numerous supports such as counselling and alternative therapies.
For the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Ireland are asking individuals, clubs, schools, and businesses to raise awareness about breast cancer by hosting a coffee morning or get together in support of Breast Cancer Research. Take time to think about whether you could organise a small event or maybe go along and support one.
Breast Cancer Research (formerly NBCRI) is a national charity that funds a comprehensive research programme. Through breast cancer research the diagnosis, treatment options, and outcomes for those who develop the disease have improved and the charity .wants to fund these research programmes to continue to impact the outcomes for those who develop the disease in the future.
To do so they need your help - to see what you can do go to www.breastcancerresearch.ie
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