One in eight women will develop breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s a scary statistic when you think about it. Put eight of your friends in a room and statistically, one will be diagnosed. That’s why, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we’re sharing easy steps you can take to help prevent this awful disease from entering your life. Because, let’s be honest, prevention is so much easier than treatment!
Not exercising enough is a common theme with almost every disease, it seems. And for good reason. Moving your body helps control your weight. Women with more fat in their bodies naturally have more estrogen, and estrogen can create cell overgrowth which may lead to cancer.
The takeaway? Move your body! Don’t stress about how much or how little, just make time every day for some type of exercise. If you aren’t much for strenuous workouts, go on a daily walk or use your stairs to fit in a 10-minute workout.
- Know Your Family Cancer History
You might know your mother’s and father’s histories, but find out more about your extended family as well. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins especially. Five to 10 percent of all cancers are hereditary, according to the National Cancer Institute. It’s important to recognize that abnormal genes can cause multiple different cancers, so remember to look at all cancer history, not just that of breast cancer.
- Limit Alcohol
This might be an unpopular tip for you wine lovers out there, but according to the National Institute of Health, indulging in three or more alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk 1.5 times compared to someone who doesn’t drink.
We aren’t saying, go cold turkey! Trust us, we love vino, too. Go ahead, enjoy a cocktail with dinner, but limit the amount you drink on a regular basis.
- Eat Good Food For Your Body
There is so much research supporting that a healthy diet can prevent so many diseases, cancer included. Your risk of cancer is lower if you follow a diet full of vegetables and fruits. The American Cancer Society suggests 2.5 cups of fruit and veggies each day. Carotenoids and cruciferous vegetables are both said to contain nutrients that curb cancer’s growth. But what are they? It’s a safe bet if you see a vibrantly colored fruit or veggie, it contains carotenoids because that’s what creates the vivid pigment. Cruciferous veggies are a more diverse group but cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy and brussel sprouts will give you a good start!
It’s so easy in the current culture to eat food that negatively affects health. The power of a healthy diet can do incredible things for your body and your mind! Besides, don’t forget, you’re worth it!
- Avoid Unnecessary Screening
Screening for breast cancer is recommended beginning at 50 (sometimes 40). If you don’t have family history and you are doing your regular breast exams, there is no need for early screening and sometimes it’s better to avoid it. The radiation used in mammograms is actually a risk factor for breast cancer. That is why it’s best to follow guidelines unless your physician says otherwise!
- Breastfeed Your Babies
Surprise, breast is best for your health, too! If you’re in the child-rearing stage of life, pay attention! Women who breastfeed consistently for the first six months of their baby’s life have a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer. How can this be? A woman typically doesn’t menstruate while breastfeeding, which lowers the number of cycles in her lifetime and the amount of estrogen in her body, too.
Taking care of yourself starts with simple steps, but it can affect your long-term health. Follow the above tips and talk to your doctor about additional ways to prevent breast cancer. When all else fails, early detection is the key to treating and living a full life. Remember those monthly breast exams and make time for a yearly visit with your OBGYN. Please share this article with other women you care about! You just might save a life!