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Turning Toward Thriving

Turning Toward Thriving

Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s virtual wellness summit offers expert advice on nutrition, exercise and more to help you go from surviving to thriving after diagnosis.

Nonprofit organization Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) is celebrating 30 years of serving the breast cancer community. LBBC’s mission is to “connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support,” says LBBC vice president of mission delivery, Janine Guglielmino.

LBBC works to share the lived experiences of breast cancer thrivers to foster connections in the community, Guglielmino says. The organization also provides a number of educational programs, including many livestreamed virtual events. LBBC’s YouTube channel offers a wide range of recordings covering breast cancer subtypes, updates on treatments, beauty and fashion tips, fertility preservation and more.

On June 16 and 23, LBBC held its two-part virtual Wellness Summit, “Promoting Health: Nutrition and Exercise Essentials.” These presentations covered wellness tips and strategies specifically tailored for the breast cancer community.

Rachel Beller, a registered dietitian nutritionist, presented the first installment, “Maximizing nutrition: Do you have these three essentials in your kitchen?” Beller provided practical advice for building sustainable nutrition habits. Her presentation showed how to incorporate beneficial ingredients into everyday meals to manage inflammation, regulate blood sugar and improve gut health.

Beller’s straightforward tips can be easily applied to an individual’s current food preferences and habits. Her presentation covered how thrivers can use more fiber, spices and other health-boosting ingredients with specific examples of how to add them to meals. Beller stressed the importance of making simple and gradual changes that can be sustained over time, in addition to diversifying ingredients, to enjoy long-term health benefits.

Oncology exercise specialist Sami Mansfield presented the second session of the summit, “Your body, your fitness: An action plan for exercise.” Mansfield’s tips focused on how thrivers can use physical activities to counteract treatment side effects and build exercise routines to suit their specific situation.

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Mansfield explained how breast cancer and its treatment can impact various parts and systems in the body. She emphasized the importance of building lean muscle, especially as many breast cancer thrivers experience muscle loss caused by inactivity, chemotherapy and other interventions. Mansfield also provided examples of how thrivers can build a personal exercise plan outlining modalities, locations and intensities that can be adapted to individual circumstances. She also stressed the importance of active recovery, good sleep habits and hydration as part of an overall plan. Simple movement sessions are especially easy to incorporate into a busy schedule. 

Guglielmino says that the organization strives to find new and creative ways to serve the breast cancer community when and where they need support. She notes that upcoming LBBC programs include a second edition of its “Knowledge is power: Understanding Black breast cancer” series in October and an on-demand digital course on life after treatment, in addition to the LBBC Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer in April 2022. 

Recordings and worksheets for the LBBC Wellness Summit are available on the LBBC website. Learn more about Living Beyond Breast Cancer at LBBC.org.

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