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Four Tips for Living Well with Metastatic Breast Cancer 

Every person living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) has a unique path to achieving and maintaining a high quality of life. When Robin Page was diagnosed with MBC in 2008, she underwent chemotherapy treatments and surgery in addition to taking other medications. At the same time, she incorporated complementary and integrative therapies like acupuncture, supplements, yoga, nutritional changes and meditation to support her body.

Due to the harsh side effects of her medications, Robin ultimately worked closely in consultation with her doctor to stop taking any medications in 2011. She continues to thrive today while living with MBC and hopes to help guide others living with the disease. Today, she serves as the program director for the Core Life Cancer Wellness Program and seeks to close the gap to living well after an MBC diagnosis.

“I believe in supporting and nourishing your body so you can live the best, longest life that you can live,” Robin said. This philosophy inspired her to encourage others living with MBC to focus on breath, mindset, nutrition and exercise to improve their quality of life.

1. Remember to breathe: Robin identifies mindful breathing as the most important tool she has used to maintain her well-being.

“When you’re going through something stressful like being diagnosed with MBC, it’s really easy to hold your breath and then not get that oxygen in,” Robin said.

2. Focus on mindset: Because of the stressful nature of living with MBC, Robin identifies mindset as her next important aspect of thriving. She practices meditation every day to bring peace into her life and to alleviate moments when negative thoughts enter her mind.

“If I go into a dark moment or a scary moment, I allow myself to have that moment, but just for a moment,” Robin said. “Then I take those thoughts and put them in a box, and I lock that box up. I wrap chains around that box and throw it deep into the ocean and leave those thoughts.”

3. Prioritize nutrition: For the third step in her plan for wellness, Robin focuses intensely on her overall nutrition and nourishing her body through what she eats on a daily basis. She has focused on cutting sugar out of her diet, as well as limiting how much she consumes refined carbohydrates.

“It’s been a journey for me over many years, but today I mostly eat a plant-based diet,” Robin said. “I don’t eat bread all the time because I do like trying to keep my body stable, and I try to avoid insulin spikes. Rising insulin can tell some of your cells to divide, and your body can’t choose whether they are healthy or unhealthy cells.” 

4. Make time for exercise: Lastly, Robin has focused on improving her exercise routine since being diagnosed with MBC. While she has regularly practiced yoga for many years, she recently switched to focusing more on strength training at a gym.

“It is so important for your body to make those muscles work,” Robin said. “That strength training moves my muscle, which in turn moves my lymph around, which in turn helps my immune system. That keeps my body stable.” 

Statements and opinions expressed are that of the individual and do not express the views or opinions of Susan G. Komen. This information is being provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Persons with breast cancer should consult their healthcare provider with specific questions or concerns about their treatment.