According to breastcancer.org, 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive Breast Cancer sometime in her lifetime. That's almost 12% of the female population! Let's try to knock that number down by taking these preventative steps:
1. Less Drinking:
A recent study showed that hormone-sensitive tumors (about 70% of tumors) were linked very strongly with the intake of alcohol. Consuming alcohol on a regular basis is believed to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Many doctors recommend cutting the consumption of beer, wine and liquor to 2-3 drinks/week.
2. More Exercising
Not everyone loves the gym, but fortunately you can still get the benefits by performing 20 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week. The more often the better! Make sure to keep your heart-rate above normal. The more vigorous the exercise the better. Yes, the kind that gets you really sweaty. The more you exercise, the stronger your heart will be, which helps cut your cancer risk.
3. Weight control
Overweight and obese individuals have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, especially if the excess weight is put on as an adult. Overweight women also have a lower breast cancer survival rate than average weight women. Even if you’re not overweight, it’s a good idea for all women to develop and stick to a fitness plan. Plus, exercise and eating right makes you feel good!
There are a lot of free programs you can use to create and track your health and fitness progress. Here’s one of our favorites!
4. Self Examine Regularly
Make a monthly reminder in your phone or on your calendar to perform a self breast examination every month. This app reminds you every month automatically! Here’s a great guide on how to do this yourself and you can always ask your doctor any questions about instructions and techniques. Don’t be alarmed if you find something, it may be nothing, but call your doctor anyway. Once you get use to the tissue in your breast, you’ll be able to tell if something is off. You may even detect a change before a mammogram find it.
5. Visit the Doctor
Even if you hate going to the doctor, make it a habit, especially if you’re over the age of 40. Early detection of breast cancer is the closest thing to prevention so once you turn 40, schedule a mammogram every 1-2 years. The chances of beating breast cancer are much higher if it’s detected early on because, chances are, the tumor can still be removed if it’s small. The 5-year survival rate can be as high as 98% for the earliest-stage detection, but is only 27% once the disease has progressed to the advanced stage. If breast cancer runs in your family, you may want to think about going once you turn 35. Make it a point to discuss your prevention plan with doctor, no matter what age you are, it’s never too early to develop a plan.
What other preventative measures are you taking to decrease your risk of breast cancer?