One in 8 women in the United States – 12 percent – will develop breast cancer. Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer that women may face in their lifetime. In addition, 1 percent of men in the U.S. will develop the disease.
Many risk factors, such as a family history of breast cancer, can’t be avoided. But research has revealed a few habits that might help reduce your risks. Below, Susann Burnett, R.N., B.S., CN-BN, a nurse navigator at the Women’s Wellness Center at Mission Hospital, offers six tips to promote breast health:
1. Get tested. Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer at an early stage, and having these tests regularly can lower your risk of dying from the disease. For most women, annual screenings should begin at age 40.
2. Do a breast self-exam. You know how your breasts usually look and feel. If you or your loved ones notice any lumps or changes, talk with a health care provider as soon as possible. It is never too early to be aware of changes in your breast tissue, so it’s important to pay attention.
3. Eat healthy. Researchers have found that women of all ages who eat red meat may have a higher risk of breast cancer later in life. Incorporate fish, poultry and beans into your diet and consume fats that come from good-for-you sources like olive oil, avocados and nuts. Also, load up on fruits and veggies. A balanced diet packed with clean ingredients is heart-healthy and protective against breast cancer.
4. Get moving. Research shows that exercise can reduce the overall breast cancer risk. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, ideally outside enjoying parks and recreation areas.
5. Know the risk factors. The two biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting older. If you have breast cancer in the family or you have a mutation on the BRCA-1 and/or BCRA-2 gene, you are also at a higher risk for breast cancer. It’s helpful to know which cancers…