Breast Health

What can you do to keep your breasts healthy?

You can make lifestyle choices to improve your general health that will also benefit your breasts. These include:

  • being active
  • eating a healthy diet, including a variety of low-fat, high-fiber and whole grain foods and at least five servings of dark green, orange and red vegetables and fruits daily; wash your fruits and vegetables or buy organic produce to reduce your exposure to potentially toxic chemicals
  • not smoking
  • limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
  • limiting the caffeine you drink
  • wearing SPF 30 sunscreen to protect any exposed skin including your face, neck and chest

In addition to these lifestyle choices, you may choose to:

  • Get to know what your breasts feel like so that you'll know what is normal for you, and will recognize any changes that happen.
  • If you wear bras, wear comfortable loose-fitting bras.
  • learn the best way to examine your own breasts.

Are you at risk for Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of breast cells. Besides some types of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer for women. All women are at risk for breast cancer. As you age, your risk increases. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several risk factors that may increase your chances of breast cancer that include:

  • Getting older
  • Being younger when you first had your menstrual period.
  • Starting menopause at a later age.
  • Being older at the birth of your first child.
  • Never giving birth
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Personal history of breast cancer or some non-cancerous breast diseases
  • Family history of breast cancer (mother, sister, daughter)
  • Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest
  • Being overweight (increases risk for breast cancer after menopause)
  • Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (estrogen and progesterone combined)
  • Having changes in the breast cancer-related genes BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • Drinking alcohol (more than one drink a day)
  • Not getting regular exercise

If you have breast cancer risk factors, contact your doctor or healthcare provider to discuss ways to lower your risk and about breast cancer screening.

 

Breast Cancer Facts

How much do you know about Breast Cancer? Take this breast cancer facts quiz to find out.

 

Did you know?

  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime – 1% of breast cancers are diagnosed in men.
  • 290,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2011. 2.6 million women are alive in the US right now who have or have had breast cancer.
  • Women between the ages of 45-65 are most commonly diagnosed. The fastest growing age group is in the “baby boomer” group.

What can you do? (Age 40 and over)

  • Annual mammogram/Annual Screening – still the only test that has been shown to reduce breast cancer mortality
  • Annual clinical breast exam – make it part of your health plan
  • Self breast exams increase breast self-awareness
  • Know the risks – Obesity, excessive alcohol, prolonged hormone exposure
  • Know the facts and don’t ignore your concerns
  • Educate yourself, your family and friends on Breast Health Facts

Download and share this information with family and friends.

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