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.