October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month … time to sport your pink, participate in local fundraising events, and of course, talk “ta-tas!”
Did You Know?
- 1 in 8 women born in the U.S. will get breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women (skin cancer is first).
- An estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2016.
While you can’t change risk factors like age and family history, there are some things you can do RIGHT NOW to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
#1. Get Moving
Just 3.5 hours of exercise per week, or 30 minutes a day, can lower your risk of breast cancer. No need to sling tires around or compete in an obstacle course. Just a fast-paced neighborhood walk is A-OK!
#2: Adopt a Low-Fat Diet
High-fat diets (we’re talking to you, bacon and ice cream!) increase the risk of breast cancer because they trigger estrogen production, which can spawn tumor growth. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies each day, especially the green leafy ones, and limit fats. In a nutritious diet, 30 percent of total daily calories should come from fat (50-80 grams each day).
#3: Limit Alcohol Consumption
Like Mom always said, “Everything in moderation.” While you don’t have to cut out alcohol completely, it’s best to limit yourself to two or fewer alcoholic drinks per week to reduce your breast cancer risk. Still want to feel like you’re indulging? Mix it up with some mocktails or non-alcoholic beer or wine.
Not every woman can or chooses to breastfeed. For those who do choose the breastfeeding route, their risk of breast cancer decreases. The longer they breastfeed, the more risk reduction benefits!
#5: Talk with Your Doc about HRT
Tossing around the idea of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal symptoms? Be sure to talk with your doctor. It’s recommended that women with known breast cancer risk should avoid HRT. You may be able to control your symptoms with non-hormonal therapies and medications.
#6: Kick the Cigarette Habit
There’s a reason people refer to these as “cancer sticks.” Puffing away on cigarettes is a risk factor for several types of cancer … including breast cancer. Secondhand smoke also ups the risk. If you need help kicking the habit, talk to your doctor about the best option to help you do it.
#7: Be Diligent
Early detection gives the best possibility for successful treatment. So no slacking! Be diligent in performing your monthly breast exams … 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are first detected by women who notice a lump in their breasts. If you notice any changes, let your doctor know. Also, talk with your doctor about when to begin mammograms and other screenings.
Not sure how to perform a breast self-exam? Go here.
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