Women's health has become a top priority for many health care providers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that in the US, the top three health risks for women are heart disease, cancer and stroke, with breast cancer as the fifth leading cause of death.
October is breast cancer awareness month, and there are a few things you can do to become raise awareness and fight this terrible disease.
Know the statistics
Information from the U.S National Cancer Institute claims that a woman's chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer steadily increases with age, between the ages of 30-39 there is a 1 in 227 chance of diagnosis and 1 in 26 chanceafter age 70.
Thirty percent of women who develop breast cancer have a family history, while the other 70 percent have histories of "sporadic occurrence" or no known family history.
- Conduct regular breast self-exams (BSE). Though BSE will not prevent you from having breast cancer, it can help to detect certain kinds of breast cancer early. Finding cancer early can save your life with certain types of cancers but does not reduce the risk of death from breast cancer.
- Get a mammogram. Depending on your family and health history, talk to your doctor about mammograms. While it may not prevent cancer, it will help doctors keep an eye on your breast health. 40 or older? It's wise to get a baseline mammogram.
- Watch your weight. According to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, being overweight can increase your chance of breast cancer by 30-60 percent. Studies show fat cells produce extra estrogen which has been linked to breast cancer. Obesity will speed up cancer cell growth once the disease has been diagnosed.
- Move, shake and shimmy! Physical activity, from walking on a treadmill to water aerobics and yoga has shown to reduce risk for breast cancer by 20 to 30 percent in more than 50 studies. Exercise until you are within a healthy body mass index, which estimates by the National Institutes of Health show is between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Conquer your vices! From smoking to alcohol, certain vices increase your risk of breast and other cancers, heart disease, stroke and more. Join a support group if quitting smoking is too difficult on your own. Limit alcohol to one beverage a day or cut it out completely.
- Limit fat intake in your diet. Research claims that limiting your fat intake, like high-fat dairy, meats and sugar can reduce your risk of breast cancer and moderately decrease invasive breast cancer. Substitute red meat with lean turkey or chicken, and use agave nectar instead of sugar.
If you are experiencing swelling, soreness or a rash, a change in your breast size, shape or color, see any dimpling, puckering of the skin or nipple, have nipple discharge or have persistent itching with new pain call your localAtlanta OB/GYN immediately for an appointment.
Don't forget to spread breast cancer awareness amongyour family and friends.