Doctors Recently Advised Edwards to Stop Ineffective Cancer Treatment
Elizabeth Edwards died Tuesday at her North Carolina home following a six-year battle with breast cancer. She was 61. News of her death came soon after doctors advised her that further treatment of her aggressive disease would be futile. Elizabeth, who separated from former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards in January after he admitted fathering a child with a campaign videographer, has in her last years been a fierce advocate for healthcare reform and spoken openly about her struggle with cancer. A day before her death, the mother of three reportedly left supporters with these parting words: "The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful." Her page is already teeming with condolences.
Certain lifestyle changes may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
1. Be as lean as possible without being underweight. A healthy body mass index is defined as being above 18.5 but no greater than 25; that's equivalent to a weight range of 105 to 142 pounds for a 5-foot 4-inch woman, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz wrote in 2009. Studies have shown, though, that women closer to the lower end of the healthy weight range have the most protection from breast cancer.
2. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Experts say if you can't do that, do less. Some activity is better than none, but the more, the better.
3. Limit alcohol consumption. If you drink at all, limit your intake to one serving a day—a glass of wine (5 ounces), shot of liquor (1.5 ounces), or bottle of beer (12 ounces).
4. Breast-feed. New mothers should breast-feed exclusively for up to six months since the American Institute for Cancer Research says "evidence is convincing that mothers who breast-feed reduce their risk for breast cancer." Breast-feeding may also lower the child's risk of obesity later in life.
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