During the month of October, people can be seen wearing pink ribbons or clothing and participating in walks in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness (NBCA) month, but what are you doing to promote breast health all year long? According to breastcancer.org, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Take hold of your future and that of your loved ones by staying up to date on your breast health.
Here are five ways to stay up to date on your breast health:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Why wait until the New Year to start healthy habits? Being overweight has been linked with an increased risk of cancer. Use this as an opportunity to be more aware of your diet and other lifestyle habits! Try starting a weekly meal plan to stay accountable.
- Pursue an Active Lifestyle: 150 minutes of weekly exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your mood and sleep quality, and lower your risk of cancer. From running to group fitness classes, there is a workout routine for everyone.
- Limit alcohol: It is best to restrict your intake for your overall health. A good rule is to consume no more than one drink daily for women and two for men.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is the leading cause of several cancers and accounts for 30 percent of cancer deaths. Not only can you reduce your risk of breast cancer by not smoking, but you will also greatly improve your overall health. Several phone applications have been created to help smokers cut this habit.
- Commit to regular screenings: While breast cancer screenings or exams cannot prevent breast cancer, they can aid in early discovery. The most common type of screening is a mammogram, but ultrasounds, clinic exams and self-examinations should also be considered for regular check-ins and early detection. According to Johns Hopkins Medical center, 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who perform self-examinations and feel a lump. If you noticed any changes, speak with your doctor immediately. Concerned about the cost of a mammogram? Many local programs offer free or low-cost mammograms throughout the year. Consult your primary care provider to determine when to begin regular screenings.
Don’t wait until October of next year to take control of your breast health. By integrating these five habits into your life, we can raise awareness year around.
Learn more about public health issues like breast cancer and how you can make an impact in Chamberlain University’s Master of Public Health degree program.
By Kari Lawrence
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