CARTI: A Cancer Surgeon and Survivor’s Tips for Prioritizing Your Health


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Some days, life feels like a balancing act. From the minute your alarm goes off, you’re up and out, managing a full slate of professional, at-home and social activities. With limited bandwidth, one item often nixed from the to-do list is taking care of your health.

As a breast surgical oncologist, I understand that in certain seasons of life, it can feel like there are never-ending demands on your time. However, as a five-year kidney cancer survivor, I also want you to remember that protecting your health should be non-negotiable. Even when swamped with obligations, you can prioritize your well-being by:

Getting screened: Early detection saves lives. Take mammograms as a prime example. Research consistently shows women who receive these recommended screenings are more likely to have breast cancer found earlier, reducing their need for aggressive treatments and increasing their likelihood of being cured. Pro tip: If you’re uncertain about your eligibility, visit

Lowering our risks: It sounds straightforward, but prevention is crucial in reducing your risk of developing cancer and other diseases. Along with scheduling your recommended screenings, avoid nicotine products, eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.

Listening to our bodies: You are your best advocate when informed and in tune with your body. Contact your health care provider if something feels off or you notice a concerning symptom. You should also communicate with your doctor about risk factors, such as family history, to encourage shared decision-making around preventive care.

If you have questions about your health, including your need for cancer screenings or preventative services, ask for CARTI. We’re always here to help.

Yara Robertson, M.D., F.A.C.S., is the medical director of surgery and a breast surgical oncologist at CARTI.

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