October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month, we focus on increasing awareness to the public about this disease. It is important to take time out to actively participate in learning ways to prevent, plan and detect the disease in its early stages to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Overall, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been very successful, but there is always room for improvement!
Did you know that breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women? Statistics show 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer at some point in their life, which is why there is a whole month dedicated to raise awareness. You likelihood to survive is increased if it is detected and treated early.
So do you know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer? Unfortunately, it is common not feel or see any signs or symptoms which is why annual check-ups are so important. Breast screenings can detect breast cancer early. This will make it easier to treat and will better your chances of beating the deadly disease, while lessening complications. Others experience symptoms which include a change in size or shape of the breast, tenderness or pain in any area of the breast, any nipple discharge (other than breast milk) such as blood, and/or an emerging lump in the breast or underarm.
There are many ways you can help prevent your risk of developing breast cancer. First and foremost, maintain a healthy weight! This can be accomplished by choosing to eat foods that are wholesome and nutritious. With proper fuel, your body will run the most efficient. Be sure to get regular exercise. Studies show that a minimum of 4 hours of regular exercise per week can greatly improve your chances of preventing breast cancer. This means if you exercise for about 45 minutes each day 5 days per week, you are taking a huge step in prevention.
Be sure to get enough sleep. Proper sleep patterns are crucial for recharging your body. Alcohol can play a role in developing breast cancer, so be sure not to binge drink. If you do drink, try to limit consumption to one drink per day. Avoid cancer causing chemicals known as carcinogens, and exposure to radiation during medical tests.
Not only will these preventative tips limit your chances of developing breast cancer, but they are also crucial to living a healthy, vibrant life. Note that you do not have to make all these changes at once. For example, start exercising for a half hour 3 days a week and increase as you feel fit to do so. Small changes can go a long way. As you feel stronger and healthier, you will be able to increase those workout routines as well as swap those processed foods for healthier whole food choices.
It is so important to raise awareness about breast cancer and to educate the public on preventative measures to take so that you can live breast cancer free. If you haven’t had an annual check-up in a while, or your annual mammogram, make an appointment and talk to your doctor about the best ways to stay healthy. And remember, little steps in prevention go a long way!
Your turn to take action: What steps are you taking to lower your risk of breast cancer?