October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s a time to remember those we’ve lost to the disease and support the courageous women and men who are currently fighting breast cancer. Unfortunately, breast cancer is familiar to many. According to the American Cancer Society, about 13% of women in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Though it’s rare, men can also develop breast cancer through genetics, age, alcohol abuse, obesity, exposure to radiation, and other illnesses. Thankfully, there are several practices that you can implement into your daily routine to prevent breast cancer and live a healthy lifestyle.
Here are five things that you can do to prevent breast cancer.
1 – Self-Evaluation & Mammograms
It is recommended that women check themselves for breast cancer about once every month. This can be done from the privacy of your home and is a quick way to identify abnormalities in the breast tissue. To self-evaluate, stand in front of the mirror and look at the appearance of your breast. If there is any swelling, leakage, or noticeable lumps, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible. You can also examine yourself by lying down with one arm reached over your head. Use your other hand to apply pressure in a circular motion on your breast and underarm. Men are also encouraged to self-evaluate every once in a while, especially if there is a family history of breast cancer. For women 40 years and older, it is recommended that you visit the gynecologist every two years for a mammogram.
2 – Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Being overweight or obese increases the risk, as excess fat tissue in the body raises insulin levels. Having an unhealthy amount of insulin has been correlated with breast cancer. While it is not proven that avoiding weight gain decreases the risk of breast cancer, reducing extra weight will significantly improve your overall health and decrease your chances of developing other diseases.
3 – Exercise
Many studies have found that moderate to vigorous exercise is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Moderate to vigorous exercise can include a brisk walk or bike ride, yoga, or swimming. If vigorous sounds a little too intimidating or painful, plenty of tips are available to help you develop a pain-free exercise routine. The main point is that exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of many illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other types of cancer.
4 – Avoid tobacco
Though often associated with lung cancer, tobacco usage has a large impact on the chance of developing breast cancer. For some, tobacco abuse has also been shown to decrease the chances of survival after diagnosis. Smoking can also add complications from breast cancer treatment, including lung damage from radiation therapy, prolonged recovery after surgery, and a higher risk of blood clots from hormonal therapy medication. Refraining from smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke will help protect you from breast cancer and a myriad of other illnesses.
5 – Visit Exceed to talk about hormonal therapy and other ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Some breast cancers are spread by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Cancer cells need these essential hormones to continue growing. Hormone therapy can be used to treat breast cancer by essentially starving cancer cells of the estrogen and progesterone they require. It’s important to discuss hormone therapy treatment with a medical professional to determine if it is right for you. Schedule an appointment at Exceed to get your hormone levels tested and speak with an expert in the field who can help you navigate this decision.
While the ultimate goal is for researchers to find a cure for breast cancer, there are several practices that we can implement into our daily lives to prevent cancer, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and be an active support for our friends and family. Connect with us online or give us a call at (901) 312-7899.