6 tips to reduce breast cancer risk
- Limit alcohol. Limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.
- Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer, especially later in life and after menopause.
- Physical activity. Being physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running), in addition to strength training exercises at least twice a week.
- Breast-feed. Breast-feeding may also play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
- Discontinue hormone therapy. Long-term combination hormone therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. If you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, consider using the lowest dose that’s effective for your symptoms, and plan to use it only temporarily.
- Avoid environmental pollution. While further studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and exposure to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in vehicle exhaust and air pollution.
SOURCE: MAYO CLINIC
Oakhurst Medical Clinic, for underinsured/uninsured
Kimberley Chance Atkins Foundation, nonprofit for breast cancer fundraising and detection
Rockdale Medical Center Women’s Diagnostic Center
Breast Cancer Support Group
or call Gayle Kelly at 770-922-8060
Breast Cancer Discussion Board
“Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book” by Susan Love.
“Navigating Breast Cancer: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed” by Lillie Shockney
“Knowledge is Power: What Every Woman Should Know About Breast Cancer” by Dennis Citrin
“Stand by Her: A Breast Cancer Guide for Men” by John W. Anderson
How to conduct a breast self-exam
Over the years there has been some debate over the effectiveness of breast self-exams, or BSEs, is effective. Some argue that these exams also may put women at risk - increasing the number of potential lumps found due to uncertainty as to what is being felt in the breast. This can lead to unnecessary biopsies. Others feel that a BSE is a good practice, considering that roughly 20 percent of breast cancers are found by physical examination rather than by mammography, according to BreastCancer.org. For those who are interested in conducting self-exams, here is the proper way to do so.
Begin with a visual inspection of the breasts. Remove clothing and stand in front of a mirror. Turn and pivot so the breasts can be seen at all angles. Make a note of your breasts’ appearance. Pay special attention to any dimpling, puckering or oddness in the appearance of the skin. Check to see if there is any change in symmetry or size of the breasts.
Continue the examination with hands placed by the hips and then again with your hands elevated overhead with your palms pressed together.
Physical examination: This can be done either by reclining on a bed or the floor or any flat surface. The exam also can be done in the shower. To begin examining the breasts, place the hand and arm for the breast you will be examining behind your head. Use the pads of your pointer, middle and ring fingers to push and massage at the breast in a clockwise motion. Begin at the outer portion of the breast, slowly working inward in a circular motion until you are at the nipple. Be sure to also check the tissue under the breast and by the armpit. Do the same process on both breasts. Note if there are any differences from one to the other.
It is a good idea to conduct a BSE once a month and not when menstruating, when breasts may change due to hormone fluctuation.