October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With that in mind, below are 6 steps-based on findings from the Mayo Clinic and Susan G. Komen for the Cure-you can take to protect your health and possibly reduce your chances of having breast cancer:
- Get moving! – We know – you hear it again and again, but physical activity really is the key to fighting numerous health hazards, from obesity to diabetes and certainly breast cancer.
- Watch those cocktails – One small (emphasis on the small, here) glass of red wine daily may provide important antioxidants to protect your heart from disease, but consuming more than 1 drink daily for women/2 drinks for men seriously increases a person’s breast cancer risk.
- Get screened – Perform monthly self-exams and do not wait to talk to your doctor about when you should begin receiving mammography. Women who are high risk may need to begin much earlier than those who are not, and they may require special screening methods.
- Practice healthy eating habits – While some may claim that certain foods will reduce your risk of cancer, there is no definitive connection between, say, fresh fruits and veggies, and fighting cancer. That being said, maintaining a healthy weight through diet is integral to managing risk.
- Seek alternatives to HRT – Hormone replacement therapy has been shown to increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about your own risk and what alternatives exist to HRT.
- Do some digging into your family tree – Be sure you know your family medical history as far back as possible, and share this info with your OB/GYN.
Breast cancer can’t always be prevented, but by managing certain risk factors, you will take big steps to protecting your overall health.