This Breast Cancer Awareness Month Get Proactive About Your Health
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to get educated, become proactive about breast health and support individuals who have been diagnosed with this disease. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States.
Statistics show that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. However, not all hope is lost. Since 1990, breast cancer death rates have declined due to early detection, effective screening and continuous improvements in treatment options.
Although cancer can't be prevented, you can take steps to protect your overall health and decrease your breast cancer risk. We've created a useful guide of simple daily habits you can start implementing now with the guidance of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
- Stay Active and avoid sitting, lying or being sedentary
There are several benefits to staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. According to the CDC, regular physical activity is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health. Engage in activities such as brisk walking, running, yoga or weight lifting to see immediate changes in your mood, sleep and reduced risk for disease. The CDC states that according to research physical activity in cancer survivors has resulted in better quality of life and improved physical fitness.
2. Work on maintaining a healthy weight
According to the American Cancer Society, having more fat tissue increases the amount of estrogen produced in your body, increasing risk of breast cancer. In addition, women who are overweight tend to have higher levels of insulin levels which have also been linked to the disease. Try to maintain a healthy weight by improving your diet and engaging in physical activity.
3. Increase intake of fruits, vegetables and water in your diet
The Susan G. Komen Foundation studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables is linked to a decreased risk of some breast cancers. A meta-analysis that combined the results of 15 studies concluded that women who ate the most fruit had a slightly lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who ate less. In the case of vegetables, a diet high in foods that contain carotenoids has been linked to a lower breast cancer risk for estrogen receptor-negative types of breast cancers.
4. Decrease alcohol consumption and stop smoking cigarettes
The American Cancer Society recommends that women have no more than one alcoholic drink on any given day. Research proves that drinking increases the risk of breast cancer significantly. Smoking also increases the risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women, including second-hand smoking. If you're a regular smoker, now is a good time to quit.
5. Get regular screenings and do at-home checks
At-home breast exams, mammograms and regular doctor visits are some of the ways in which you can be proactive in early detection of breast cancer. Get in the habit of checking your breasts once a month —after your period is best— and talking to your doctor about potential risk factors you may not know about, including family history. And remember: we are all in this together!