Stress on the Rise

In our day to day world we are constantly being bombarded with external influences. Work deadlines, paying bills, pressure to keep the family together – the list is endless. Naturally, as individuals our stress levels are at an all time high. It seems almost impossible to keep up with day to day life, let alone make time for ourselves.

Just from the pandemic alone, stress has skyrocketed around the world, and our mental health has taken a toll for the worse. Add the pressures of day to day life on top of receiving a cancer diagnosis – stress from cancer can wreak havoc on one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

This is why it’s extremely important to cultivate a mindfulness routine to better cope with life’s stresses.

How Does Mindfulness Help?

Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.

Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress, especially when dealing with cancer treatment.

Mindfulness will help you with being present. When you practice mindfulness, you begin to rewire the subconscious mind. You become more aware of what is happening around you without feeling overwhelmed or reactive. Cancer and stress go hand in hand, mindfulness can help you find relief from your cancer diagnosis.

Mindfulness helps you connect back to yourself. We tend to put the needs of others before our own needs. Mindfulness helps you take a moment to yourself. It is very important to fill up your own cup before the cup of others.

Mindfulness can also take you out of a place of stress from cancer and into a state of joy. You begin to express yourself fully and focus on a life where your cup feels full, even while going through your cancer healing journey.

Pausing to practice mindfulness for just a few minutes at different times during the day can help your days be better, more in line with how you’d like them to be.

Where To Begin?

Receiving a cancer diagnosis, as well as going through cancer treatment, can definitely pile on massive amounts of anxiety on top of the pressures of day to day life.

At OncoPower, we understand the stresses that one goes through with going through a cancer journey, and realize how important a mindfulness routine can be. It’s our priority to make sure that each patient receives the top care they deserve.

OncoPower serves as a comprehensive source of support for those who have been diagnosed with cancer through the entire cycle of care.

Patients can use the platform to ask specific questions related to their cancer diagnosis, as well as, utilize the resources such as video content, guided meditations, and other tools to assist them on their healing journey.

Additional Support

If you would like to receive additional one on one support, make sure to contact Meditation Teacher and Expert, Natalie Thomas, to assist you in kickstarting your mindfulness journey and combating cancer and stress today. You can also check out our Meditation Suite on the OncoPower App to try our guided meditations.

What is an Oncologist?


An Oncologist, also known as an cancer specialist, is a doctor who
assists in treating cancer while providing medical care for someone diagnosed with cancer.
With a focus on three major areas based on treatment for cancer patients: medical
oncology, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology, the role of an oncologist is by no means
an easy feat.


Stress & Oncology


With long working hours, around the clock patient care, and dealing with the stress &
anxiety that a cancer diagnosis can naturally bring, many oncologists are tired, anxious, and
riddled with stress. Left untreated or not looked after, burning the candle at both ends can
lead many oncologists on the path of depression and additional ailments/disease within the
body.


With mental health conditions on the rise across the globe, this is not an exception to
oncologists. Burnout is one of the leading causes of medical error and decreased quality of
patient care, along with compassion fatigue and overall physical, mental, and emotional
exhaustion. Constant worry and stress, coupled with a heavy workload, can leave havoc on
both the body and the mind for any oncologist.


Taking Care of Your Health


The role of an oncologist is one to be admired. Dedicating their time
to helping cancer patients heal, all while providing emotional support, is a role that is not
easy. Oncologists are true life savers and healers in this world, which is why it is extremely
important that they, too, take care of their overall health and wellbeing in order to thrive
both personally and professionally.


Here at OncoPower, we know how difficult it can be for oncologists to
manage their schedule, provide emotional support, all while maintaining balance in their
personal lives. We have developed a Daily Check-In on the app where you can keep track of
your mental health and see which areas of your life need improvement in order to achieve
optimal wellness. Along with the daily check in, we have dedicated a section to our
Mindfulness Suite, where we have specific meditations and breathing
exercises to assist oncologists with stress relief.


How Does Meditation Help Oncologists?


Meditation is one of the leading tools to assist people with handling life’s pressures and
finding balance and equilibrium in everyday life. Not only is it scientifically and clinically proven that meditation alleviates physical and psychological suffering in cancer patients, but
it has the same results for oncologists as well.


Through finding silence and stillness, oncologists can use meditation to calm their
sympathetic nervous systems, while decreasing cortisol levels within the body. With a never-
ending ‘to do’ list, caring for many patients at once, and an over thinking mind, the practice
of meditation will assist oncologists in lowering their heart rate and blood pressure, regulate
emotions, reduce stress, improve self-awareness, and enhance concentration and mental
clarity (to name a few).


Meditation and breathing exercises shift your awareness into a
new way of thinking and be-ing. You begin to view the world from a different lens. Little
things that would once trigger you seem to disappear. The heaviness of work seems to
dissipate. With consistent practice, meditation increases memory, cognition, and attention
for oncologists as well. It is also scientifically proven to help with symptoms of PTSD and aid
in insomnia.


Practicing Meditation on OncoPower


As mentioned above, we have a Meditation Suite dedicated to assisting Oncologists with
relieving stress and anxiety from their day to day lives. The easy to use guided meditations
are also a great resource for oncologists to share with cancer patients who are looking to
relieve the stresses that a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment can bring.
Make sure to visit our OncoPower app to access our meditations for
oncologists and meditations for cancer healing. Here you can also find additional resources and access to a large community of oncologists and cancer patients.

And if you are interested in a 1:1 consultation with a Meditation teacher, make sure to reach
out to Natalie Thomas, our dedicated Meditation cancer care and oncologist specialist at
OncoPower, who can assist you on your mindfulness journey.proven that meditation alleviates physical and psychological suffering in cancer patients, but
it has the same results for oncologists as well.
Through finding silence and stillness, oncologists can use meditation to calm their
sympathetic nervous systems, while decreasing cortisol levels within the body. With a never-
ending ‘to do’ list, caring for many patients at once, and an over thinking mind, the practice
of meditation will assist oncologists in lowering their heart rate and blood pressure, regulate
emotions, reduce stress, improve self-awareness, and enhance concentration and mental
clarity (to name a few).
<strong>Meditation and breathing</strong> exercises shift your awareness into a
new way of thinking and be-ing. You begin to view the world from a different lens. Little
things that would once trigger you seem to disappear. The heaviness of work seems to
dissipate. With consistent practice, meditation increases memory, cognition, and attention
for oncologists as well. It is also scientifically proven to help with symptoms of PTSD and aid
in insomnia.
<h3>Practicing Meditation on OncoPower</h3>
As mentioned above, we have a Meditation Suite dedicated to assisting Oncologists with
relieving stress and anxiety from their day to day lives. The easy to use guided meditations
are also a great resource for oncologists to share with cancer patients who are looking to
relieve the stresses that a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment can bring.
Make sure to visit our <strong>OncoPower app</strong> to access our meditations for
oncologists and meditations for cancer healing. Here you can also find additional resources
and access to a large community of oncologists and cancer patients.
And if you are interested in a 1:1 consultation with a Meditation teacher, make sure to reach
out to Natalie Thomas, our dedicated Meditation cancer care and oncologist specialist at
<strong>OncoPower</strong>, who can assist you on your mindfulness journey.

Meditation For Cancer Patients

Meditation is an ancient practice that has been around for centuries. Meditation consists of quieting your thoughts to bring the mind, body, and soul into equilibrium. Even though Meditation has been around for thousands of years, it is only recently that it is gaining popularity and recognition in the western countries, particularly the United States.

While there are many connotations to assume that Meditation can be “woo-woo” or overly religious, please know this is certainly not the case. Meditation comes in many different forms, for it is, in fact, the art of essentially doing nothing. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? In a society where we are expected to work over time and are praised for being “busy”, quieting the mind, let alone spending time in silence, seems foreign, uncomfortable, and counter intuitive.

However, with mental illness on the rise, and cancer diagnoses continuing to grow, what is going on in our day to day lives that is bringing us to a place of ill health? The answer lies in stress from our external environment. This is why Meditation for cancer patients is extremely important.

Healing Through Meditation

There are now many studies showing that by practicing Meditation for cancer, you begin to heal – both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Physically, Meditation lowers your blood pressure, decreases your heart rate and metabolism, improves your cardiovascular health and immune system, and much more. Mentally, you are better able to manage pain, can recover from depression and negative thinking, and helps with insomnia. Emotionally, Meditation guides you to a deeper connection within yourself, helps you manage your emotions, and prompts you to cultivate a deeper sense of love for yourself and others (to name a few). All of these benefits from Meditation go hand in hand with assisting you on your cancer healing journey.

Getting To The Root Cause

There is much belief and research that cancer can be caused by aberrant mental processes. This is why it is very important to get to the root cause of stress, anxiety and depression when treating cancer. When used along with standard medical treatment, Meditation for cancer patients assists you in gaining balance and equilibrium in the body.

Without Meditation and/or mindfulness practices, the stressors you might have once endured before being diagnosed with cancer (whether it be a trauma, emotional pain, mental illness, etc.) will still be present within the body. This is why it is extremely important to address the core wound, whether physical, mental, or emotional, in order to fully heal from cancer. Standard medical treatment is crucial and extremely important, but it is also highly beneficial to train the body and mind to release stress, and in turn, allow the root cause to be released from the body.

Decreasing Stress-Causing Hormones

Through practicing Meditation, you begin to merge your left brain with your right brain. Naturally, cortisol and other stress causing hormones that are being pumped into the bloodstream start to decrease after consistent practice of Meditation for cancer healing. Many people do not even realize they are living in fight-or-flight mode, which leads to extreme havoc on the body. Cortisol and additional stress hormones in the body can also lead to physical illness, which includes cancer.

The good news is that you can begin your Meditation for cancer journey anywhere and at any time. I also recommend checking out the book “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay for some additional affirmations and information about how illness is connected to the mind.

Mind Shifts Through Meditation

Please know that the benefits of even five minutes of Meditation are life-changing. Like working a muscle, you will begin to see over time improvements on your overall mood, health, and wellbeing. You will notice little shifts in your day to day life that will inspire you and give you the hope and strength to keep moving forward when dealing with your cancer treatment.

Meditations For Cancer Patients: Resources

Make sure to check out our Meditation Suite on the OncoPower app to begin the Meditation Course: Meditations for cancer healing, and for additional cancer support. With each meditation and breathing exercise, you will become one step closer to healing from cancer and feeling your absolute best.

If you are interested in a 1:1 consultation with a Meditation teacher, make sure to reach out to Natalie Thomas, our Meditation cancer care specialist at OncoPower, who can assist you every step of the way. Healing IS possible. And it all starts with taking a deep breath and going within.

What Is Grounding?

Grounding or ‘Earthing’ is a term that has now gained popularity in the mindfulness space. Grounding is a therapeutic technique that includes activities and/or practices that ‘ground’ or reconnect you to the earth. This theory connects back to science and physics to explain how electrical charges from the earth can have a positive and healing effect on your body, essentially aiding in cancer treatment.

Why Ground?

Grounding your energy is one of the fastest and simplest ways of releasing anxiety caused from cancer, bringing yourself back to a calm, centered, and balanced state. Grounding or ‘Earthing’ can be practiced anywhere and at any time. In fact, the more you practice grounding the better you will become at managing your mental and emotional states.

Through meditation techniques, visualization, walking in nature, or gardening outside (to name a few) you can begin to ground your energy. By learning and practicing to direct your own energy to connect with the Earth, it guides you towards a sense of balance and serenity. This is a great method that goes hand in hand with cancer treatment.

Five Ways to Ground:

  1. SPEND TIME IN NATURE

Spending time in nature to connect to the Earth rejuvenates the mind, body and soul. Taking time to visit the beach, go on a walk/hike, garden, or simply put your bare feet onto the earth will work wonders. A mere 20 minutes will leave you feeling more refreshed, calm, and clear minded.

  1. YOGA

Stretching and practicing Yoga on your mat helps to relieve any stiffness in the body while clearing your mind from thoughts and worries. The practice of Yoga grounds your energy while also detoxifying the body and organs. Emotions get released through Yoga which allows healing energy to flow more freely through you.

If you are interested in learning more about Yoga, make sure to try our yoga stretches on the OncoPower App. Your number one app for cancer support.

  1. MEDITATION

If you do not have access to going outside, you can use meditation and visualization to ground. Through meditation and breathing exercises, you train your mind to become more still. Start by visualizing yourself in the middle of a beautiful place. See the imagery around you and feel the ground beneath you. What does it feel like to be in this lovely place? Can you feel the nature around you? 

Make sure to try our meditations located in the OncoPower app. On the app you can also be connected with Natalie, our Meditation teacher and cancer care specialist.

  1. JOURNALING

Journaling / writing is a fantastic way to ground and assist with cancer treatment. Through journaling, see if you can let your emotions flow onto the power. Any top of journaling will allow your creativity to flow. Sometimes a single thought can turn into a few pages of expressing and releasing. This all aids in grounding your energy.

  1. EPSOM SALT BATH

Epsom salt baths assist you in dissolving negative emotions that are being held in the body – from your own experiences to interactions with other people. Epsom salt baths not only ground you, but leaves you feeling more calm, lighter, and balanced. 

Grounding helps with cancer treatment, chronic fatigue, anxiety & depression, sleep disturbances, and cardiovascular disease.

Make sure to download the OncoPower App for guided meditations, affirmations, and deep breathing exercises. On the app you can also find cancer care specialists, treatment recommendations, and a cancer support community. Our Mindfulness coach and Meditation teacher, Natalie Thomas, is also available for 1:1 support. 

What is metastatic cancer?


Cancer becomes metastatic by process called Metastasis. It is when cancer cells start moving
from the original affected area of your body to another region, where they will form another
abnormal growth. The movement occurs after the cell breaks away from the primary tumor due
to suitable growth. By this process an early-stage breast cancer or lung cancer can become
metastatic breast cancer or metastatic lung cancer. After breakage, the cells then move through
your body’s blood or lymphatic system to other organs, where they would manifest and start
forming another duplicate tumor known as the metastatic tumor. When observed under a
microscope and tested in other ways, features of the original cancer would be found. These
features are very different from tumors that would develop on the secondary cancer site. An
example is given, if cancer cells from breast cancer move to the lungs, the metastatic tumor
formed in the lungs would be from breast cancer cells and not lung cancer cells. Cancer care
specialist determines whether your cancer has metastasized by a combination of clinical,
laboratory and imaging tools.

Cancer metastasis occurs during the fourth stage of cancer. When diagnosed with metastasized
cancer, the oncologist would always tell them where the cancer started and refer to it as cancer of
unknown primary origin (CUP). Therefore, cancer treatment for metastasized cancer is usually
similar as that for primary cancer, even though tumor markers would be located in a different
position.


How Does Metastatic Cancer Develop?


Cancer metastasis develops in a series of numerous steps, which start from the invasion of
nearby body cells. As the cancer cells grow in the primary tumor, they get into the cells of the
neighboring organs; for instance, if the cells were originally in the trachea, there are high
chances that the cells would start infecting the esophagus since they are so close. Upon invasion,
the cells would then move through the walls of blood vessels or lymph nodes close to the
primary tumor. In our example of tracheal cancer, the cells would move through neck lymph
nodes. When the cells have attached to the walls of the various lymphatic or blood vessels, the
cells would automatically get into your body’s lymphatic system or circulatory system. These

systems travel all around the body, from the toes to the skull. As the blood moves to carry the
cancer cells, the cells might stop in a small blood vessel like the capillaries in a distant organ.
Since the cells no longer move, they would invade the surrounding tissue the same way it had
done to the blood vessel at the primary tumor site. Growth and cell division would continue until
it forms small tumors that cannot be detected easily. The tumor grows just like other organs in
the body. This means that blood vessels would develop around the abnormal tumor in the
secondary site. This tumor would get nutrients and grow into a bigger tumor which would
require cancer treatment like a newly diagnosed primary cancer. In most situations, especially for
people with a strong immune system, the cancer cells often die along the journey. However, if
the cells get favorable conditions, they will always grow on the secondary site.


What are the Signs of Cancer Metastasis?


Metastatic cancer will not always show you symptoms, so you won’t feel it happening. In cases
where the symptoms occur, the nature and severity of the symptoms largely depend on the size
of the growing tumor as well as the location it has affected. For example, metastasis to the
appendix would be less notable than metastasis to the lungs or the limbs. Some of the commonly
observed metastatic cancer symptoms include pain and fragmentation when the metastasized
tumor is on the bone. If the cells spread to the brain, the victim would have seizures,
convulsions, severe headaches, and dizziness which might be associated with a loss of
consciousness. The most notable metastasis is of the lung since one would face difficulty in
breathing and shortness of breath which would always force you to seek treatment. In addition, if
your cancer has spread to the liver, you would develop jaundice and other symptoms of liver
damage like hepatomegaly. Cancer care specialists very carefully differentiates signs of
metastasis from those symptoms associated with other health conditions such as arthritis or acid
reflux. You watch a video on the signs and symptoms of metastatic cancer in OncoPower app.

Are Metastatic Cancers Curable?

The prognosis for patients with metastatic cancer depends on the individual and type of cancer.  Some metastatic cancer types e.g., breast cancer have better treatment options than other like metastatic pancreatic cancer. Metastatic cancer treatment basically involves slowing its growth. With help from a cancer support community, one can survive with metastasized cancer for many years since the symptoms are well relived. Many cancer patients with metastatic cancers join can support groups for social and emotional support.  patients opt for palliative care when they believe that they can no longer fight the metastasis. You can also consult an oncologist and other specialists 24/7 with OncoPower Ask-A-Doc service to get guidance on how monitor and manage metastatic cancer.

Mindful Breathing and Meditation

What are the benefits of meditation? When you begin to meditate, the stress response counters the relaxation response. You begin to enter into a state of peace, no matter what is happening externally. Through the feeling of relaxation you can achieve from meditation, you begin to decrease blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and reduce oxygen consumption. Thus, enhancing your entire physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. The practice of meditation / mindful breathing creates a gradual change in the brain. You might begin to perceive stress differently, or feel like you have more control over your emotions.

Benefits of deep breathing is not so much about eliminating stress, but managing it. Meditation and mindful breathing is excellent for cancer patients’ care, for it begins to heal the mind and body. For many centuries yogis have used deep breathing techniques, also known as pranayama breathing, to improve vitality and promote concentration. Deep breathing and meditation are also excellent treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAF), and depression. All of these diagnoses can stem from a cancer diagnosis and/or cancer treatment.

Make sure to check out the OncoPower App for guided meditations and support for cancer patients.

Letting Go Through The Breath

Through deep breathing / meditation, you train your mind to be aware of your thoughts, not controlled by them. A lot of times dwelling on a thought is a lot like holding your breath. The longer you hold your breath, the more tense you might feel due to the lack of oxygen in your lungs. When you continue to hold your breath you might become red in the face and have to exhale, or else you’d pass out.

Our thoughts work in the same way. When you hold onto your thoughts, they can drown out your intuition and cause more stress. You might even feel suffocated from overwhelming thoughts on a day to day basis. However, when you allow your thoughts to come and go during meditation you learn how to let go and ease the stresses that cancer might bring.

Benefits of Meditation/ Deep Breathing:

  • Reduce stress levels in your body.
  • Lower your heart rate.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Improve diabetic symptoms.
  • Reduce depression.
  • Better manage chronic pain.
  • Better regulate your body’s reaction to stress and fatigue.
  • Reduce the possibility of burnout.

Where to begin!? As mentioned above, make sure to check out the OncoPower App for guided meditations, affirmations, and deep breathing exercises. On the app you can also find cancer care specialists, treatment recommendations, and a cancer support community. Our Mindfulness coach and Meditation teacher, Natalie Thomas, is also available for 1:1 support. Remember, healing is possible through each inhale and exhale that you take.

Why Deep Breathing Is Important

How to mediate? Start by taking in a nice, deep inhale through your nose. Filling your entire belly up with air. Pause. Now as you exhale, allow the breath to leave through the mouth, nice and slow. Very good. You just practiced a deep breathing technique.

While breathing is second nature for us, we have to breathe in order to survive, for it plays a crucial role in regulating our physical, mental, and emotional health. The way we breathe is extremely important, and how we breathe is something we must focus on, especially while going through cancer treatment.

As humans, we normally operate by taking short, shallow breaths. We are subconsciously breathing rapidly without even realizing it. We tend to operate in ‘fight or flight’ mode on a daily basis. Fight or flight mode is an automatic physiological response to a situation and/or event that appears to be stressful or frightening. The sympathetic nervous system becomes activated by the perceived threat and triggers a stress response in the body. This can occur just by reading a work email or from living with cancer.

Breathing Is Your Life Force

Receiving a cancer diagnosis or going through cancer treatment can easily cause stress, anxiety, and havoc on the body. When you enter into this state of fight or flight, cortisol and other stress causing hormones are released into the bloodstream. When this happens, blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels rise, all of which can disrupt your immune system, sleep, and energy levels. This reaction makes recovering from cancer even more challenging.

Coming back to why breathing is important. Breathing is your life force, your anchor. It’s otherwise known as your “Prana”. Practicing meditation and deep breathing techniques regulates the nervous system, allowing you to control your body and mind. Through long inhales and exhales, you can slow your heart rate, stabilize your blood pressure, and lower stress.

Breathing is the connecting link between the subconscious and conscious mind. And practicing mindful breathing is similar to training a muscle. You begin to train the body to breathe slowly throughout the day. Thus, when a stressful situation presents itself, you enter that particular event feeling more calm and at ease. By regulating your emotions and anxiety through the breath, you are able to not get absorbed into stressful situations.

Why meditation is important? It helps you manage cancer-related stress and anxiety. Make sure to visit the OncoPower App for guided meditations, affirmations, and deep breathing exercises. On the app you can also find cancer care specialists, treatment recommendations, and a cancer support community. Our Mindfulness coach and Meditation teacher, Natalie Thomas, is also available for 1:1 support. 

Click here to read The Power of Breathing Pt.2.

In our society, there is so much emphasis on assisting other people. Maybe you are taking care of your family, kids, loved ones, and friends 2/47. Or are constantly giving and providing your energy to make sure everyone else is ok – but when do you take a second to check in with yourself?

Self-care is not selfish. Self care plays a huge role in supporting your physical and mental health, especially after receiving a cancer diagnosis and going through cancer treatment. The term ‘self-care’ can seem daunting, uncomfortable, and scary. However, self-care is essential to your overall wellbeing and mental self. Self-care encompasses a lot of basic but overlooked practices such as getting enough sleep, meditating, practicing gratitude, and saying ‘no’ to things that do not resonate with you.

“Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” – Audre Lorde

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

It may surprise you that one of the best and most effective practices you can do for self-care and stress relief is nothing at all. Well, maybe that is actually a bit misleading! Silencing the mind and tuning inwards isn’t really nothing – in fact, it can take time and practice to cultivate a solid foundation to reach inner stillness and peace. However, carving out time to silence the mind will always pay off. Meditation trains your brain to tune into the present moment, to focus on your breath, and to give your body the time and space it needs to relax. By sitting down and paying attention to where you are without distractions, you begin to accept and dismiss the thoughts and emotions that arise. Through consistent practice, you train the subconscious mind to do this even when you are not meditating. This self-care practice guides you to leading (and living!) a more mindful life on a day to day basis, and is effective for cancer patient’s care.

Meditating also provides you with the opportunity to set intentions that propel you to manifesting positive energy, all while tapping into the pure joy that you desire. One way to embark and begin your self-care practice is through our Meditation Program on the OncoPower App. By practicing our guided meditations and breathing exercises, you can jumpstart your self-care routine that reduces the stress and anxiety that cancer can bring. Led by Mindfulness Coach and Meditation teacher, Natalie Thomas, you can also sign up for 1:1 sessions for further assistance and more personalized coaching. OncoPower is one of the leading sources for support for cancer patients.

Expressing Gratitude

Another important form of self-care is expressing gratitude. Just by waking up in the morning and thinking of five things that you are grateful for is a practice of self-care. The benefits of gratitude are endless. When you give thanks for what you have in the present moment, no matter what is going on in your life, the universe will conspire to provide you with more to express gratitude for.

Through journaling and/or meditation, see if you can create time to notice and reflect upon the people, places, things, moments you cherish. Some additional benefits are: you begin to relish more positive emotions, your sleep improves, you are able to express more kindness and compassion (for both yourself and others), and you can begin to feel more ‘present’ and alive. 

Expressing gratitude can even assist your body in building a stronger immune system. This is beneficial when going through cancer treatment. Gratitude expression can be for something big in your life, such as a child and/or family member, but it can also be for something as simple as expressing gratitude for a nice cup of coffee in the morning.

Affirmations

Affirmations are phrases / mantras that can assist you in overcoming challenging life moments, such as cancer, by subconsciously training the mind to think positive thoughts versus self-sabotaging thoughts. This is another self-care practice.

When one is diagnosed with cancer, it can be difficult to not have negative thinking which can manifest into increased anxiety and depression. Negative thinking can turn into destructive self-fulling prophecies, which is why it’s extremely important to rewire the nervous system to think thoughts that are in alignment with healing, love, and harmony.

Affirmations help you take control of your thoughts. When repeated and practiced regularly, each phrase / mantra begins to become engraved into the conscious and subconscious mind, so you actually start to ‘believe’ that each positive thought is true. While it is completely normal to think negatively from time to time, know that affirmations can shift your emotions, behaviors, and overall energy levels all for the better.

Affirmations can reaffirm positivity and self-assurance back into your life while assisting you on the path of healing. We also recommend you check out our Affirmation Meditations on the OncoPower App to assist you in further in your healing and wellness journey. You can also find a growing cancer support community on the OncoPower App.

Additional Self-Care practices:

  1. Take an epsom salt bath
  2. Stretch for 20 minutes
  3. Savor your favorite cup of tea
  4. Journal
  5. Read a book on self-care
  6. Take a 20-min walk
  7. Tap into your creativity 
  8. Use a soothing face mask

For more information, please visit us at OncoPower today!

Meditation. This word can seem scary at first. Taking time to sit in silence? Quieting the mind? Not ‘thinking’? What does that even mean?

For many of us, Meditation is a concept that goes against everything we have been taught. Since we were young, the majority of us have been programmed to constantly work hard-play hard, which consists of working long hours that eventually leads to burnout. We might have lived with the fear that if we took a break, or slowed down, we would be holding ourselves back from ‘success’. Our society has engraved in us to constantly be busy. We might even feel pressure, now in this moment, to always be doing something: whether it’s working, making plans, going to dinner, taking care of loved ones, etc. However, in doing so, we neglect our own needs of taking time to ourselves, finding stillness, and going within. The result? Increased stress/anxiety, heightened blood pressure, insomnia, digestive issues, depression, and illnesses (to name a few).

Through the practice of Meditation, we are able to take a second out of our day to pause, center our thoughts, and ease our minds. The power of Meditation allows us to slow down our breathing to come back to a place of stillness. Through the power of our breath, we begin to take ourselves (and our bodies) out of ‘fight or flight mode’ that stress can bring. We learn how to cultivate a sense of trust within ourselves. And with practice, we start to embody the feelings of peace that we may have longed for.

Meditation is when we take the time to close our eyes and sit with ourselves, whether through silence, music, or using guided meditations. When we meditate, we begin to reprogram the subconscious mind to be in alignment with our conscious mind. It is now scientifically proven that Meditation begins to strengthen the neural pathways in the brain that activates our ‘feel good’ receptors and dopamine production. It is also very effective to help reduce stress when going through cancer treatment.

Meditation is a lot like going to the gym. It can take time and patience to strengthen our Meditation ‘muscle’. You might not notice the results following one session, but with practice you slowly start to see the results. Meditation begins to change you from the inside out, and is an incredibly useful practice for cancer support.

Physically, you can heal the body, release tension, activate your digestive system and slow your heart rate. Mentally, you begin to slowly creep out of depression. Stress and anxiety begins to dissipate and might not be as present as it once was. Emotionally, you feel more stable, more happy and at peace. You might feel like you have control over your emotions and can make decisions with a clear mind. Spiritually, you begin to feel more connected to something greater than yourself. Your intuition becomes stronger and you embody a deep presence that everything is going to be ok. 

There are so many incredible benefits that Meditation can bring. Meditation assists you in managing stress from cancer treatment rather than letting stress control you. Your thoughts soon become present, but they do not consume you and your emotional state. Sitting alone with ourselves – and our thoughts – seems scary. But with practice, it becomes easier and easier. Even just two minutes of Meditation can have a changing effect on the body, mind and soul. It all starts with giving yourself a few moments to be alone with YOU.

How To Mediate? (Natalie’s tips)

  • To begin, either start laying down or sitting upright.
  • You can always set a timer for 5, 10, or 20 minutes.
  • If sitting upright, have your feet planted on the floor and your sit bones rooted on your chair. Keep your spine nice and long and roll your shoulder down your back. Allow the shoulder to relax.
  • Close your eyes. With the eyes closed, your eyes are slightly lifted gazing at the space between the eyebrows. This is so you notice the difference between sleeping and meditation.
  • Begin by taking three long, deep inhales and exhales. With each breath you take, imagine all stress and anxiety leaving the body.
  • Feel free to put on some relaxing music while you focus on your breath.
  • You can use a Mantra – a word / phrase – to assist you if the mind starts to wonder. 
  • A Mantra can be: Inhale PEACE, and Exhale LOVE.
  • We highly suggest using our Mindfulness Meditation Modules found on the OncoPower app.

If you have more questions and/or would like to start your Meditation journey, feel free to check out our OncoPower App for guided meditations and additional support. The OncoPower App is a cancer support community to assist cancer patients. Happy Meditating!

Did you know that women have a 1 in 78 chance of developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime? It should be no wonder, then, that 21,410 women receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis each year. 

Ovarian cancer starts in the ovaries. The ovaries are female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs and hormones. Ovarian cancer can spread from the ovaries to other regions, including the abdomen and pelvis.

It’s critical to treat ovarian cancer before it metastasizes. Allowing ovarian cancer cells to leave the ovaries can make a full recovery less likely. Plus, advanced ovarian cancer can lead to further complications like fertility loss.

Are you wondering: do I have ovarian cancer? Then you need to look out for the early signs and symptoms. Keep reading for everything you need to know about ovarian cancer, signs you might have it, and your treatment options.

Types

There are over 30 different types of ovarian cancer. Each type gets its name from the location in the body where the tumor originates.

Here are the most common types of ovarian cancer.

Epithelial

Epithelial tumors make up 85–90% of ovarian cancers. 

Epithelial tissues line the entire body, protect hollow organs and cavities, and make up hormone-producing glands. Epithelial cells also cover the ovaries. Ovarian cancer originates from these cells.

Germ Cell

Only 2% of all cases originate from germ cells. 

Germ cells are precursors to gametes. Gametes are also known as egg and sperm cells. Germ cell ovarian cancer starts in egg-producing germ cells.

Unlike other types of ovarian cancer, germ cell tumors are more common in young women and teens. And the good news is that germ cell tumors tend to only affect one ovary. This can improve the ability to maintain fertility.

Stromal

Stomal tumors are the least common type of ovarian cancer of these three. It makes up less than 1% of all diagnosed cases of ovarian cancer. 

Stroma is connective cells binding organs to epithelial tissues. Stroma also surrounds the ovaries, where its job is to produce hormones. This is also where stromal tumors begin.

Vaginal bleeding is a sign of a stromal tumor and the reason why many stromal cancers are caught early on. If you’re post-menopausal, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of this cancer type.

Who’s At Risk?

50% of diagnoses occur in women over the age of 63. This type of cancer also tends to occur more commonly in white than black women. Also, obesity may be a risk factor, though we need more research to learn why.

Gene mutations to breast cancer genes 1 and 2 cause a small number of ovarian cancer cases each year. Similarly, having two or more close relatives who had ovarian cancer confers a higher risk.

Women who have undergone long-term or high-dose estrogen HRT (hormone replacement therapy), women who start their periods early in life, and women who start menopause late in life are at a higher risk for ovarian cancer.

Symptoms Explained

Cancer of the ovaries can be difficult to catch because it’s often symptomless. The following signs usually begin to arise when the tumor metastasizes (spreads to other tissues in the body).

Bloating

Bloating and/or swelling of the abdomen is an early-stage symptom. But it’s also the most common sign of advanced ovarian cancer.

Bloating occurs when the tumor starts to irritate the inside of the abdominal wall. The stomach responds by producing a fluid, which leads to bloating.

Fluid buildup can also result from cancer cells spreading to the liver or lymphatic system, both of which also produce fluid as a response to foreign irritants.

When the fluid then leaks from the liver or lymphatic system into the stomach, bloating may occur.

Weight Changes

It can cause weight gain and/or weight loss as a symptom.

A primary reason for weight loss is that it often causes loss of appetite. And losing the desire for food commonly leads to unintentional weight loss.

Some women with ovarian tumors also experience weight gain, especially if the tumor is large. Constipation — a common sign of ovarian cancer — is another cause of weight gain. Normal digestion can’t occur when you’re constipated.

Belly Pain or Discomfort

When an ovarian tumor gets large enough, it may begin to press against nearby organs like the intestines and colon. This is why many people experience constipation.

The pressure can also lead to issues with the pelvis and lower belly. For example, belly pain or an upset stomach are often ovarian cancer symptoms. Pain during intercourse is yet another sign you may have an ovarian tumor.

Quick Satiety

Cancerous tumors release hormones. And these hormones can interfere with our body’s natural hormone signaling.

One result of this hormone disruption is that your satiety cues (which make us feel full after a meal) may be thrown out of whack.

You might start feeling full when you haven’t eaten much. Another sign is if you lose your appetite altogether.

Frequent Urination

Ovarian tumors may also press against the bladder. When this happens, you may feel like you have to go all the time, leading to frequent urination.

Treatment Options

Treatment varies depending on how advanced the cancer is, the type of ovarian cancer, and the tumor’s size.

Oncologists’ primary treatment recommendation for ovarian cancer is surgery. The surgeon can remove the tumor. Then, you’ll likely undergo chemotherapy, which will kill off any remaining cells surgery couldn’t address.

Sometimes, it comes back after treatment. Unfortunately, this happens in about 70% of cases. Symptoms of a re-occurring ovarian tumor include:

  • Stomach bloating, swelling, or pain
  • Nausea and indigestion
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lower back or pelvic pressure
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Fatigue

The best way to avoid a relapse is to reduce your risk factors and attend all follow-up appointments with your doctor.

Get Your Top Ovarian Cancer Questions Answered With Oncopower

It doesn’t always present with symptoms until more advanced stages. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the above signs of a tumor on your ovaries.

Do you have more questions about the symptoms of ovarian cancer? Oncopower is a convenient app allowing you to connect with an oncologist whenever, wherever you’re located. Register for Oncopower today!