woman meditating

What Are We Talking About When We Talk “Prevention”?

woman meditatingOne of the virtues of a holistic approach is that it takes a proactive, preventive path to overall health and well-being. Eating well, exercising, getting enough rest and quality sleep, managing stress, practicing good oral hygiene – healthful habits like these go a long way toward preventing problems from arising in the first place.

Think of your body as a machine. It’s easy to see how if one piece becomes jeopardized, it can ultimately come to impact the performance of the whole. If one part breaks down or begins to malfunction, another has to compensate.

But maintain the whole, you help sustain the whole.

This is a far cry from the kind of “prevention” discussed in a recent CNN article on the “staggering rise of mastectomies” we’ve been seeing, especially among younger women.

Younger women with breast cancer are increasingly opting to undergo double mastectomies, even if they were diagnosed with early-stage cancer in only one breast, known as unilateral breast cancer, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Surgery on Wednesday.

The procedure to remove the healthy breast along with the affected breast is called a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, or CPM.

In certain states, more than 42% of women 20 to 44 who underwent surgery between 2010 and 2012 opted to remove both breasts with a CPM, the study found. Researchers now are hoping to determine why.

Then there are those who opt for the “preventive” double mastectomy after finding they have a BRCA gene mutation.

In either case, there’s not much supporting research. What there is, often, is fear. And here, we see it lead to physical harm in the hope that it might spare greater pain and fear down the line. Not only do you have the sacrifice of healthy tissue; you have the risks of surgery itself, not to mention major stress on the body and the need for extensive healing.

And there’s little evidence that it actually helps. According to a 2016 study in the Annals of Surgery,

The use of CPM more than tripled during the study period despite evidence suggesting no survival benefit over breast conservation. Further examination on how to optimally counsel women about surgical options is warranted.

A truly preventive approach involves giving the body what it needs to thrive – and protecting it from what might harm – not just physically, but mentally and spiritually, as well.

You are the one to take charge of it and create the destiny you wish to achieve. Holistically-minded health care professionals are here to help you along your path – to guide and support you on your way to optimal health.