October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This worldwide campaign that is celebrated annually, seeks not only to increase understanding of the disease, but to promote prevention and help raise funds for research, and to aid those battling breast cancer.
We want to join this campaign by sharing what studies have shown may help you lower the risk of breast cancer. Even though there is no 100 percent way to prevent it, and some risk factors can ́t be changed, there are still some life changes that you can do.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Studies show that women who gained 20 pounds after age 18 had a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer, while those that gained 55 pounds or more had a 45 percent higher risk. After menopause, women who gained 20 pounds more had an 18 percent higher risk of breast cancer.
To keep or reach a healthy weight, experts advise to eat “good” fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado, and to limit “bad fats” found in fried foods, donuts and processed meats, among others. It is also recommended that you eat at least 2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day and prefer whole grains foods like quinoa, brown rice, whole grain cereals and breads.
Regular Physical Activity
Physical activity helps reduce weight and helps boost your immune system. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults have at least 150 minutes of moderate, and 75 of vigorous activity each week to help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Daily this could mean as little as 20 minutes.
Moderate activity could be a brisk walk or any activity that causes a slight increase in your heart rate. Vigorous activities like hiking, running, or jumping rope, increases your heart rate and produces faster breathing and sweating.
Limit Alcohol and Stop Smoking
More than one drink a day for women, and more than 2 drinks for men can increase the risk of breast cancer, so experts advise limiting the amount of alcohol.
Smoking is also associated with increasing the risk of breast cancer, especially if there is a history of the disease in your family. Studies also show that the younger a person starts smoking, the higher the risk.
Even though you can reduce your risk factors by maintaining healthy, remember to be vigilant. Get regular screenings and contact your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your breast. For further prevention routinely follow these 5 easy steps for your breast self- exam:
Step 1: Look at your breast in the mirror and make sure they are the same size, shape and color.
Step 2: Look for the same changes raising your arms putting your hands behind your head. Do it one arm at a time.
Step 3:Check for any watery, milky, yellow fluid or blood that may be coming out one or both nipples.
Step 4: Feel both breasts lying down. Use your hands to move around your breasts in small circular motions. Make sure to cover the entire breasts and armpits. Use different pressures, squeeze your nipple and check for lumps or discharge.
Step 5: To finish your self- exam, feel your breast standing or sitting down. It is recommended to do this in the shower because it is easier to feel them when the skin is slippery and wet.
Contact your doctor right away if you feel any lumps or notice any changes, redness, swelling, soreness, bulging in the skin, dimpling, puckering or an inverted nipple.
Help us raise awareness for breast cancer by wearing pink and using your pink capsules and share using #PinkCAPS.