We see the pink ribbons and hear the phrase “Breast Cancer Awareness.” And most of us are very aware of breast cancer and how devastating it can be. Breast cancer is a well-known disease, partly because it affects so many people: it’s the second most common cancer in women, and more than 200,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Many cases of breast cancer simply can’t be avoided, because certain genetic and environmental factors are beyond our control — and some simply aren’t known yet. But, if we arm ourselves with facts about the disease and the things we can do to lower our risk, we are taking one of the most important steps to preventing it and treating it early, when there’s the best chance of a cure.
With that in mind, take note of these important facts about breast cancer and how you can lower your risk of getting it — and share it with your friends and loved ones:
- Aim for a healthy weight. Being overweight raises your risk of breast cancer, particularly after menopause. This is because estrogen is stored in fat tissue, and higher estrogen levels can trigger breast cancer. Make a commitment to eat right and adopt a healthy lifestyle if you haven’t already — you’ll feel better physically and emotionally and will be working toward a healthy weight.
- Exercise as much as you can. Experts recommend 30 to 60 minutes of activity five days a week. Regular exercise has been shown to decrease breast cancer risk.
- Drink only in moderation. Alcohol consumption has been tied with higher rates of breast cancer. If you drink, limit it to no more than one drink per day.
- Don’t smoke. Quitting smoking can be difficult, but it’s worth the effort. Smoking increases your risk of breast cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other health problems. Encourage your loved ones to quit.
- Get your mammograms as recommended. A mammogram is still the best way to detect breast cancer. Talk with your physician about when you should be screened.
- Know the risks of menopause hormone therapy (HT). HT is an effective treatment for many women struggling with debilitating symptoms of menopause. But make sure you take it at the lowest possible dose and for the shortest amount of time to minimize your risk of breast cancer.
- Know your family history. Because breast cancer has genetic components, it’s beneficial to know if it runs in your family. In some cases, you may be tested for specific genes that put you at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This information can help you make informed decisions about your health care options.
At GLOW Surgical Arts, we are physicians first -- and we care about breast health and all those who have been affected by breast cancer. If you’d like information about our services, schedule a free consultation online or call us at (650) 241-2209.