5 Ways To Prioritize Your Breast Health
Each October, we strive to recognize and spotlight breast cancer for National Breast Cancer Awareness month. During this month, you can find pink ribbons lined everywhere and women filling their doctor offices to get mammograms. But it is important that women are proactive about their breast health year around. This means learning about risk factors, family history and being familiar with your own body. And it’s not just up to the ladies, men are at risk for breast cancer as well. If you know the risks, you beat the odds. Let’s stop this disease in its tracks together by following these five steps to prevent breast cancer and increase awareness.
By Brianna Allen
Know your family health history
Your family history is the road map to your own genetic health and understanding your risk for developing breast cancer. Talk to your family members and find out what your family’s health history is on your mother and father’s side. A good way to keep track of your family’s health history is by creating a chart, which would be beneficial for your entire family so that everyone is aware of the risk.
Stay active and eat healthy
Of course, diet and exercise is a must to living a healthy lifestyle. Evidence has shown that obesity, not being physically active and excessive drinking are all clear risk factors that can lead to breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. So, get active in the gym and keep your diet clean!
Visit the doctor for mammograms
Mammograms are low dose x-rays that can help detect breast cancer early. The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40 to 44 should have a choice to start yearly mammograms and women age 45 to 54 should have a mammogram each year. Those 55 years and over should continue getting mammograms every 1 to 2 years. You should follow these recommendations, but should also keep your family history into account, which can affect your risk for cancer.
Monthly Self-breast examinations:
Our bodies are constantly changing. It is important that woman do become familiar with their breast by conducting monthly breast self-exams. Although you may visit your doctor for a “well-woman” check-up (they will examine your breasts), once a year is not enough! Some woman may feel uncomfortable with self-examinations, but we must know our bodies to detect breast cancer early. Follow the steps below to properly self-exam.
Supporting organizations such as, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Sisters Network Inc., Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Susan G. Komen For The Cure is great way to learn more about breast cancer and to help find a cure. Most organizations hold annual breast cancer walks like Race for the Cure or Stop the Silence Walk to raise awareness and celebrate breast cancer survivors. Many organizations have local chapters in various cities, which is a good way to volunteer and support the cause beyond the month of October.