October is breast cancer awareness month and there is no better time to join the fight against the most common form of cancer found in women worldwide. Studies have found that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during the course of her lifetime. Keep in mind individual risk factors pertaining to family and reproductive history can influence this average. While breast cancer is much more frequent in females, both men and women should become familiar with their own bodies so that they’re able to note any changes or abnormalities that may occur. Prevention and early detection provide the best defense against this disease that has touched the lives of so many. Find out how you can better protect yourself by modifying certain lifestyle behaviors and becoming proactive toward your health.
Ways To Decrease Your Risk for Breast Cancer
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Having more fat tissue can increase estrogen levels which is correlated to breast cancer risk.
- Improve Your Diet: Although specific foods have yet to be identified as increasing one’s risk for breast cancer, it is best to limit sources of red meat and animal fats including dairy because they may include hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides.
- Exercise: There is a growing evidence that says exercise reduces the risk for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends 45-60 minutes at least five days per week.
- Limit Alcohol Use: Breast cancer risk increases as the amount of alcohol consumed increases. Alcohol can affect your liver’s ability to control blood levels of the hormone estrogen which can increase risk.
- Quit Smoking: There is an increase in risk for breast cancer associated with smoking.
- Limit Estrogen Exposure: Because estrogen stimulates breast cell growth, exposure over a long period of time without any breaks can increase breast cancer risk. It is best to speak to your Gynecologist to help you weigh your individual risk factors where estrogen is concerned.
Early Detection is Your Best Protection
- Increase Breast Awareness & Self-Exams: Starting in their 20’s, women should become familiar with the benefits and limitations of a self-breast exam (SBE). To learn more about conducting an SBE, visit the American Cancer Society.
- Get Screened: Doctor’s say that breast cancer screenings save thousands of lives every year. The current recommendation for women in their 20’s and 30’s that do not have any breast cancer symptoms is to get a clinical breast exam (CBE) once every three years. Women over 40 should get an annual mammogram.
Support the fight against breast cancer while getting a great workout! Join us at the Party in Pink at Harris Field on October 29th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Wear Pink and Zumba the night away for a great cause!
Women’s Health is located in the Student Health Center on campus and provides routine gynecological care including breast examinations. For more information on services provided, go here.