4 Ways Nurses Can Help Raise Breast Cancer Awareness

4 Ways Nurses Can Help Raise Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is a great time for nurses across the country to educate their patients about the disease and raise public awareness of the benefits of healthy lifestyles in reducing the risk. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide; however, it can be found in men as well. Currently, there is no cure for the disease. Therefore, the earlier it is identified, the better the outcome.

A nurse’s role in breast cancer prevention is crucial, and there are several ways that you can help patients reduce their risk. It is important that you have the knowledge and are up to date on current recommendations for screenings as well as other methods related to the diagnosis and evaluation of the disease. Raising awareness is an important first step in the battle against breast cancer.

Here are four ways you can help your patients:

1. Encourage women to become familiar with what is normal for them through breast self-exams.

This will help women detect any unusual changes in their breasts early. Most women know what is normal for them; however, the awareness may be concealed. For men, signs to watch include a lump felt in the nipple, pain, and an inverted nipple.

2. Recommend breast screening based on age group, family history, race, and ethnicity.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women who are at an average risk of breast cancer should begin annual mammograms at age 45 and should get mammograms every year. Women age 55 years and older should get mammograms every 2 years. The risk is increased in those with a first-degree relative (such as a mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer. White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African American women.

3. Encourage healthy lifestyles.

Educate patients on the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables; being active and maintaining a healthy weight; limiting alcohol consumption; staying away from tobacco; and reducing exposure to radiation.

4. Offer support.

Encourage women and men to talk about their concerns regarding their risk of developing cancer, breast screening, and available treatments. It is important that your patients have as much information as possible about breast cancer and effective prevention strategies. Mortality from breast cancer can happen at any age group, and developing awareness of the risk factors plays a critical role in prevention.

The Benefits of Having a Sense of Humor

The Benefits of Having a Sense of Humor

Nursing, while splendid and meaningful, is a physically and emotionally exhausting career. Many of us routinely perform diligent care on critically ill patients and observe tragedies and traumas. Doctors and other health care providers are also exposed to loss and suffering; however, nurses may be more susceptible to the lasting emotional impact. Having a sense of humor will help you cruise through difficult times of your life.

A sense of humor is an important part of coping with physical and mental adversity and challenges. It can also make you healthier. Laughter is said to have great health benefits, such as reducing stress and boosting the immune system.  It is a way for nurses to energize themselves and to unite with one another, and it is an especially powerful tool in letting go of the difficult emotions that accompany every day’s work.

“I would hope to see my nurses relishing their work despite the hardships,” says Lisa, a mother of a chronic kidney disease patient. Humor can help nurses build relationships with their patients.

Humor also strengthens the connections between hospital staff in the workplace. “Research shows that humor is a fabulous tension breaker in the workplace,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of The Humor Advantage.

Nurses who have access to their sense of humor during stressful events are more emotionally flexible, and can bend without breaking amidst the difficult situations. It is important that you improve and strengthen your humor skills. One of the easiest ways to experience greater happiness is to make small positive changes. Try these tips to help awaken your sense of humor:

  • Listen to your favorite comedians. Remember a good joke and practice telling jokes and stories.
  • Learn to laugh at your own flaws, weaknesses, and blunders.
  • Watch a movie or a YouTube video that makes you smile and laugh.
  • Share the humor you observe with someone every day.

As a nurse, you have many opportunities to exercise your sense of humor just by observing things that happen around you. Just remember to avoid ethnic jokes, sarcasm, and joking about any patient or their condition.

“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”
George Bernard Shaw