Second to skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. While a yearly screening with your doctor is a great first step, it’s important to remember the following simple tips to reduce your risk:
- Know Your Risk
Find out as much as you can about your family history of breast cancer. This includes both sides of the family. Genetics plays a role in your risk, so being informed is the first step!
- Follow A Healthy Lifestyle
This tip makes it onto almost every list for good health, and for good reason. People minimize the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. So what exactly does that mean?
- Eat a healthy diet: This means cutting out processed foods, fast foods and sugar. We are all so programmed to eat convenience foods, but did you know that more than 80% of food items in the grocery store didn’t exist 100 years ago? Go back to basics!
- Exercise: Not everyone needs to be a gym rat, but it is important to move your body daily and stay at a healthy weight. Start small and go for a daily walk or lift weights for 10 minutes per day. Make time for exercise!
- Limit alcohol: We can hear your disappointed sighs. A glass of wine at dinner isn’t bad, but consuming more than a few drinks a week isn’t healthy for your body.
- Breastfeed, if you are able: For all of you young mamas, breastfeeding is proven to reduce your risk of cancer. If you aren’t able to breastfeed, no worries. There are many other ways you can reduce your risk. Keep on doing you, mamas!
- Know Your Normal
Become familiar with how your breasts feel and check yourself on a monthly basis. If you have trouble remembering (like we do!), set a reminder on your phone! See your doctor if you notice any of the following changes:
- Lump, knot or hardening in breast or underarm
- Change in size or shape of breast
- Nipple discharge or rash on the nipple
- Pain in breast area
- Swelling or redness in breast area
- Get Screened Yearly
Talk with your doctor about which screening tests are right for you. It is recommended to have your breasts examined every three years starting at the age of 20. If you are over 40, you should have a yearly exam, including a mammogram.
These small steps are important to maintain breast health and reduce your risk of breast cancer. If we all take these steps together, we can empower each other to stay healthy!