In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we think it’s a great time to not only spread awareness about breast cancer but also to spread the word about preventative care and early detection. Being aware of your breast health can help you understand your risk and to know when it’s time to see your doctor for a checkup.
Healthy Habits & Lifestyle
Creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key in preventing a number of health conditions. Cultivating healthy habits such as the following may reduce your risk for cancers such as breast cancer:
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Incorporate physical activity into your schedule each week.
- Maintain a healthy weight via a healthy lifestyle.
- Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink a day
- Avoid smoking altogether or do your best to quit smoking
While following all of these tips will also help your physical health, in the long run, your skin and body will benefit too!
Understanding Your Risk
While some risk factors can be due to lifestyle, much of your risk could be due to your genetics. However, we feel that education is the best prevention and if any of the following risk factors describe you, it may be time to have a conversation with your doctor about breast health screenings and a maintenance plan.
- You are over the age of 40
- You have been previously diagnosed with cancer, such as breast cancer or ovarian cancer
- Your mother, sister or daughter have tested positive for the gene mutation associated with breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2)
- You have tested positive for the gene mutation associated with breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2)
Becoming familiar with your own breasts can be very helpful in identifying a change in them such a lump, a change in size/shape or texture. This is because if you are aware of the look and feel of your healthy breasts, detecting a change is much more obvious. In addition to becoming familiar with your breasts, learning how to do a self-exam may be recommended by your doctor. However, it is important to not panic in the event you notice a change. Most changes and even lumps are not cancer, but if you have any cause for concern a trip to your doctor is recommended for prevention and peace of mind.