healthIssue 30

Healthy Living Tips to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

By Ashley Stinson

October is a month known for scares, but there might be nothing scarier than breast cancer. According to breastcancer.org, one in eight women in the US will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, as well as one in a thousand men.

A lot of good work has been done researching how to fight back against cancer, and how to avoid it altogether. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to share with you some ways you can give yourself your best chance at avoiding these risks.

Many of the ways that researchers have found to reduce your risk of breast cancer are lifestyle choices that lead to an overall healthier body. Stopping smoking, cutting back on drinking, and exercising at least two and a half hours per week can put you on the right track.

If you’re approaching menopause, you might consider skipping hormones. Hormone therapy can increase breast cancer risk if hormones are taken for longer than three to five years. If hormones are necessary to deal with menopausal symptoms, the Mayo clinic recommends working closely with your doctor to find the lowest hormone dose that works for you, and to monitor your breast health.

If you do develop breast cancer, catching it early and seeking medical attention can make a world of difference. 85 percent of cases have occurred in women who have no family history of breast cancer, so it’s important to stay vigilant even if breast cancer doesn’t run in your family. Conduct a self exam once a month, feeling your breasts for any unusual lumps or hard knots.

Not all breasts are the same, and some women have naturally lumpy breasts, so it’s important to be familiar with how your own breasts should feel. Conduct visual examines while standing in front of a mirror. Be wary of any unusual bulges or puckering of the skin when lifting your arms above your head, or any changes in the skin of your breast.

If you notice anything unusual, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor. When it comes to your health, it’s always better to be safe than to be sorry.

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