The following tips may help you cut your breast cancer risk:
- Check out your breasts. Performing breast self exams (BSE) regularly – once a month – can help with early detection. When breast cancer is detected early, less aggressive treatment is needed and the chance of survival is higher.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your body’s levels of estrogen, a hormone that plays a key role in the development of breast cancer.
- Get a mammogram. If you’re 40 and older, regular mammograms will help detect breast cancer – especially lumps that are too small to detect during a self exam.
- Breastfeed your babies. Breastfeeding can lower the risk of breast cancer, even in women who have their babies later in life.
- Eat your vegetables and fruits. Eating at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables each day will supply your body with cancer-fighting phytochemicals. You’ll get the most protection from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower), dark leafy greens (collards, kale and spinach), citrus fruits, berries, cherries and pomegranates.
- Choose the rights fats. Today, our diets contain a lot of unhealthy fats – omega-6’s (found in sunflower, safflower, corn and cottonseed oils), saturated fats and trans fats – and too few healthy fats (omega-3’s from fish and monosaturated fats in nuts). Reverse the trend! Decrease your consumption of the bad stuff and start eating more heart-healthy fats to protect your breasts.
- Keep moving! You know exercise is good for you, but did you know it can also reduce your risk of breast cancer? Studies by the Women’s Health Initiative found that women who walked briskly for just 75 minutes to 2 1/2 hours each week reduced their risk for breast cancer by 18%.
- Know when to see your doctor. Besides your annual gynecological checkups, visit your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms in your breasts: a lump, hard knot or thickening tissue; swelling, warmth, redness or darkening; dimpling, puckering of the skin; an itchy, scaly, sore or rash on the nipple; a pulling in of your nipple or other area of the breast; sudden nipple discharge; or new pain in one spot that doesn’t go away.
In need of a specialist? We can help! Check out our online physician directory or call (502) 897-8131 for a physician referral.