Take charge of your breast health!
Soumya Janardan, MD, Family Physician at HealthPoint Family Care
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Among American women, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer (a type of skin cancer is first). You may have heard how 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
There is no way to completely avoid breast cancer, but there are certain things you can do to decrease your risk of breast cancer through lifestyle.
–Decrease alcohol consumption. The World Health Organization classifies alcohol as a human breast carcinogen.
–Get enough exercise. Exercise protects against breast cancer by lowering circulating estrogen levels. Walking is most definitely considered exercise, and even walking one hour daily divided throughout the day is protective.
–Make healthy eating choices. Eat a diet focused on plant-based foods (more fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts) and less meat. There are certain foods that you can add to your diet to help reduce your risk of breast cancer such as: green tea, mushrooms, and broccoli.
Early detection of breast cancer is key in improving survival rates of women. We encourage you to be involved in a discussion with your doctor about breast cancer screening. Depending on your personal risk factors, screening with mammograms can start at age 40.
If there is a strong family history of breast cancer, you may need genetic testing to evaluate your risk and start imaging earlier.
Men can get breast cancer as well. It is important for both women and men to be aware of new changes in their breast such as a breast lump, breast pain, nipple changes, nipple discharge, a lump under your armpit, red/scaly/itchy changes in the skin, dimpling of the skin (like an orange peel), and nipple retraction (inward turning of nipple).
At Healthpoint, we are dedicated to helping you take charge of your health.