You absolutely can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Not all factors are controllable, but you can improve your odds against getting breast cancer by managing the risk factors that are controllable. Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer in women. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women of Hispanic origin, and is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in women of all other races and origins. Know the risk factors, and take steps now to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
Controlling Your Risk Factors
1. Limit your alcohol intake. The more you drink, the more you increase your risk of breast cancer.
2. Quit smoking. If you are a smoker, then take steps to quit. If you are a non-smoker, then don’t ever start.
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight has been shown to increase your risk of breast cancer.
4. Be physically active. There are many benefits to being physically active, one of which is tied to reducing your risk of breast cancer.
5. Breast-feed your baby. The longer you breast-feed, the more you reduce your risk.
6. Limit hormone therapy. There is an increase in the risk of breast cancer in women that take hormone therapy for the symptoms associated with menopause.
7. Avoid exposure to radiation. Exposure to high doses of radiation to the chest area has been linked to an increase in the incidence of breast cancer.
8. Eat a healthy diet. There are many benefits to eating a healthy diet, including controlling your weight which is a way to reduce your risk.
Identifying Risk Factors Beyond Your Control
1. Review your family history. Genetics play a significant part in your risk of developing breast cancer.
2. Recognize age-related factors. Several variables increase the odds of developing breast cancer that are related to age.
3. Consider pregnancy factors. Some relationships have been established that may increase your risk based on pregnancy.
4. Take into account additional factors.
Monitoring Changes in Your Breasts
1. Detect changes in your breast. Early awareness and rapid treatment are key variables in improving your odds of a total recovery should you develop breast cancer.
2. Examine your own breasts. Knowing what is normal for you is important in detecting changes early.
3. Start by examining your breast tissue by touch. Keep in mind that you should perform the exam lying down as opposed to standing.
4. Continue in front of a mirror. Stand in front of a mirror in an area with good lighting and press down on your hips.
5. Notice changes in lumpiness. Breast tissue is naturally lumpy.
6. Have any new lump examined. Many women have developed unusual lumps in their breast tissue in their past.
7. Watch for nipple discharge. Liquid that leaks from your breast is alarming but is not usually a sign of anything serious.
8. Seek immediate medical attention. See your doctor immediately if you notice any potential symptoms in your breast.