October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

What Do You Need to Know? 

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women. In fact, 1 in 8 women could develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

The World Health Organization reports that “early detection in order to improve breast cancer outcome and survival remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control.” Make sure that you are practicing the recommended steps for early detection:

  1. Breast self-awareness
  2. Well-Woman exams
  3. Mammograms

How Can You Lower Your Lifestyle-Related Breast Cancer Risk Factors?

While there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, there are some risk factors that can be changed and may lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society reports that “a risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease, such as breast cancer. But having a risk factor, or even many, does NOT meant that you are sure to get the disease.”

Certain breast cancer risk factors are related to lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise. What can you do to decrease your risk factors?

  • Limit Alcohol Consumption

Drinking alcohol is linked to increased risks of breast cancer. “Compared with non-drinkers, women who have 1 alcoholic drink a day have a very small increase in risk. Those who have 2-3 drinks a day have approximately a 20% higher risk compared to women who don’t drink all.” Excessive alcohol consumption is known to increase the risk of other cancers also. The American Cancer Society recommends that women who drink have no more than 1 drink per day.

  • Get to and Stay at a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese after menopause may increase breast cancer risk. “After menopause, most of a woman’s estrogen comes from fat tissue. Having more fat tissue after menopause can raise estrogen levels and increase your risks.”

  • Be Physically Active

Exactly how physical activity might reduce breast cancer risk isn’t clear, but it may be due to its effects on body weight, inflammation, hormones and energy balance. “The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week.”

  • Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Most studies of American women have not found a link between breast cancer and fat in the diet. However, studies have shown that breast cancer is less common in countries where the diet is low in total fat, polyunsaturated fat, and saturated fat. High-fat diets can lead to being overweight or obese, which is a known risk factor of breast cancer.

How can you help?

Money posted an article on September 29, 2017 outlining different ways to give, outlining who you’re trying to help and shows explanations regarding where the money goes. The article identified the “five best breast cancer charities where you can feel confident that your dollars will be put to good use funding prevention research, education, and patient support.” Not to mention, by giving directly to a charity, you get to report the tax-deductible contribution.

 

 

Think Pink!

It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. As Breast Cancer Awareness month, October acts as an important reminder to have an early detection plan and encourage others to do the same.

The Susan G. Komen organization teaches the following messages for breast self-awareness:

1. Know your risk.

  • Talk to both sides of your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

2. Get screened.

  • Talk with your health care provider about which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every hear starting at age 40
  • Sign up for your screening reminder at komen.org/reminder

3. Know what is normal for you and see your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

4. Make healthy life choices.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Add exercise to your routine
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Limit menopausal hormone therapy (postmenopausal hormone use)
  • Breastfeed, if you can