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Martina Navratilova Live Online Chat About Breast Cancer

Read a transcript of the chat with Martina Navratilova and Dr. Julie Silver about Martina's breast cancer diagnosis

Comment from Joan in Falls Church: How has cancer changed your outlook on life? How has it affected your goals or what you want to do with the rest of your life?

Navratilova: It made me take a pause and reassess everything that is going on in my life. So far I have not changed a thing because I love what I do, which is my work with AARP and my commentary with the Tennis Channel.

Dr. Silver: I think cancer has some effect on everyone's life--whether you've had it or not. Cancer touches everyone.

Navratilova: But I will make my bucket list and not put it off for very long.

Comment from Linda R: Martina and Dr. Silver, do you recommend any different vitamins during radiation?

Dr. Silver: One vitamin that many people are deficient in is Vitamin D. It's worth getting checked for this. Also, a multivitamin is a good idea.

Dr. Silver: My top three recommendations to reduce your risk of breast and other cancers include:

1. Reduce or limit alcohol intake.

2. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, even if you don't like them!

3. Walk at least 10,000 steps a day—it's fun to track this with a pedometer.

Comment from Susan: When I lost my hair, my husband shaved his head so we would match. We looked like two peas in a pod!!! That's love.

Navratilova: Susan, you obviously married the right guy!

Comment from Ann: I must admit I am guilty about not getting an annual screening. It has been five years since my last one. I guess you have motivated me to make an appointment. Thanks.

Dr. Silver: Ann—there are so many women who feel guilty. I hope you let that go and focus on the fact that there are 12 million cancer survivors. Most of them did not have their cancer caught at the earliest possible stage.

Comment from Jude: Julie it's interesting that alcohol is number one on that list—I just lost my dad to throat cancer, and I find myself wanting to think it was the HPV infection he had in his throat that caused it rather than alcohol . . . but can you explain the emphasis on alcohol?

Dr. Silver: Jude—I'm sorry to hear about your father. I don't know what caused his cancer or even contributed to it. Alcohol is strongly associated with a lot of cancers, including breast cancer and head and neck cancers. It's important to raise awareness about this.

Comment from Andrea: When should women start getting their first screening? If they have no family history

Dr. Silver: Women typically begin screening at the age of 40 years. Talk to your doctor about what is right for you based on your risk factors and family history. Even people without a family history might have risk factors for breast cancer.

Comment from Pavel: What would you say to Czech compatriots who are worried about you?

Navratilova: Moc vam vsem dekuji za podporu, jsem vdecna!!!

Comment from Linda R.: Dr. Silver—where can I found out more about meditation? I would like to try it but have trouble finding the time or I think I do? Do you meditate?

Dr. Silver: Linda—meditation is so good for you, but it takes practice. Everyone is terrible at it at first. There are lots of great resources including CDs and books. Start with one of these and see how it goes. Remember it takes practice.

Comment from Linda: Martina . . . you have inspired me as a 51-year-old to get/stay fit!

Navratilova: That's good to hear Linda. Being healthy and doing all the right things with your body is always helpful but for me this is a reminder that that doesn't preclude you from getting cancer but it will certainly will help in overcoming it. So eat well, exercise, and go to your annual check-up.

Dr. Silver: Nearly all cancer survivors worry about cancer recurrence. The odds go down the longer out you are. But, it varies depending on a lot of factors including the original diagnosis and the treatment you undergo.

Next: Treatment post-chemo>>

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