National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is important

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The slogan, “Saving the Ta-Tas” is popular this time of year and the pink ribbons come out. More and more Americans are finding out the importance of awareness and the offerings that come out of the research for cancer patients.  Getting the word out has allowed more women to focus on prevention and seeking out care, while offering education on a sensitive topic.

The Facts

According to the National Cancer Institute over 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

If breast cancer is caught early enough the survival rate for another 5-years increases by 98%.

A third of the women diagnosed with breast cancer are combating cancer beyond the confined stage.

1 in 8 women will have breast cancer sometime in their life.

Causes

While genetic and hormonal changes may play a huge part in whether or not a woman gets breast cancer, here are some other determinants:

AgeBreast cancer increases with age. About 80% of breast cancers appear in women over of 50.

Family History– Most cases of breast cancer do not involve a genetic predisposition but the chances of getting breast cancer are higher if an immediate family member such as a mother or sister has had cancer.

Hormones– Women exposed to hormones for a long period of time is more likely to get breast cancer. Situations including getting your first period before the age of 12, having menopause late in life, having not been pregnant or being pregnant after the age of 30, or taking birth control pills for a long period all have attributions to breast cancer.

Alcohol use– The chances of getting breast cancer are tripled if you drink more than third alcohol beverages a day.

Prevention

Reducing the risk of breast cancer starts with a mindful attitude. Links to breast cancer prevention include:

Exercise– The risk for breast cancer is reduced by half if at least four hours of exercise is maintained for those 40 and younger. Exercise lowers estrogen in your body and changes the way your body composes fat, ovulates, and favors a higher immunity.

Breast-feeding– There are studies out there that say that breast feeding will reduce your chances of getting breast cancer but more research is needed

Regular screening– The best advocate for the prevention of breast cancer is to regularly get checked in order for early detection. Self-examines are efficient in finding lumps or abnormalities in breast tissues. The best time to do a breast-self examine is right after your period every month. Many websites offer instructions on how to give yourself a self-breast examine.

Breast Examine/Mammogram– Doctors recommend a clinical breast examine every three years after the age of 20 and then every year after the age of 40.

What you can do

Maintain a healthy weight– A high BMI increases the likelihood of you getting cancer later in life. Here is a link on how to figure out your BMI. It should be 25 or less- always.

Load up on fruits and veggies– Another reason to eat fruits and vegetables, the antioxidants and phytochemicals are enough to make this rule worth your while. Broccoli, dark leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and olive oil all are cancer-fighting superpowers. Also important is limiting your intake of saturated and trans fat in your diet by replacing them with Omega-3’s (fish oil), monounsaturated fats, and nuts and seeds.

Watch high glycemic carbs– processed food and ‘white starches’ change your hormones and increase cell growth in the breast tissue. Avoid white flour, white potatoes, and white and refined sugar and replace them with whole grains, beans, and anything else high in factor.

These are just a brief overview of breast cancer awareness, prevention, and action items. Please stay tuned all month for the advocacy of breast cancer.

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