It’s the No. 1 cancer that affects Black women at a disproportionately higher rate than White women. Although a cure has yet to be discovered, there are risk-reducing measures that can prevent breast cancer from invading your life. Save a loved one today by sharing this information
Monthly self-exams: An essential part of early detection is via self-examination. Making it a part of your everyday ritual by familiarizing yourself with the shape and feel of your breasts allows you to recognize the most subtle of changes. Ask your doctor to demonstrate the proper way to do a self-exam.
Cut down on the cocktails: There is evidence of a link between excessive alcohol consumption and breast cancer. According to new research, just having one to two drinks a day can increase your risk by 10 percent. Protect yourself by limiting your intake of everything from the hard stuff to a bottle of wine.
Keep your weight in check: Weighing more that you should for your age and height is linked to breast cancer. There is a connection between estrogen levels and breast cancer. Older women who are menopausal should especially be leery because their estrogen levels aren’t as high.
Get your body moving: Exercise and diet are key factors in preventing most diseases, and breast cancer isn’t any different. Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight. If you haven’t developed an exercise program in the past or it’s been some time since you hit the gym, start out slowly and build your way up.
Decrease your fat intake: Eating a low-fat diet can decrease your risk of invasive breast cancer considerably. Cut back on high-saturated fats and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.
Find out if it’s in the genes: Most cases of breast cancer occur when cells are dividing in the breast tissue. But there is a slight percentage where the mutation is inherited and passed on between generations. If your mom or grandmother ever had breast cancer, it’s time you find out if you’ve inherited the mutated gene. Ask your doctor about genetic testing to find out about your risk.
Schedule your mammogram: Make this the best birthday gift you ever gave yourself. Studies prove that women who are 40 and older should have annual mammograms. Doing so can help detect cancerous cells early on. Younger women should have a clinical breast exam (a self-exam performed by a nurse or your physician) every three years and continue to perform their own self-exams at home.
Visit the health store: Recently, a number of oncology nutritionists have attributed 1 to 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day to the prevention of many chronic diseases, including breast cancer. Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and plant lignans. You can usually find it at your local health food store.
Avoid pesticides: Strange enough, the molecular structure of some pesticides closely resembles that of estrogen and may attach themselves to the estrogen receptors in your body. While studies have yet to determine whether there is a strong link between most pesticides and breast cancer, researchers have concluded that women with elevated pesticide levels in their breast tissue have a greater chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Eat chocolate: A few years ago, researchers from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University found that an ingredient specific to cocoa (pentameric procyanidin) seems to exert anti-cancer properties. Dark chocolate is best also because of its natural antioxidant traits.
For more information on breast cancer awareness visit Susan G. Komen for the Cure at Komen.org