The weather has changed, leaves have fallen, and our little munchkins are bundling up. Even though October has come and gone women still need to have breast cancer awareness on the mind.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer among women. One in eight women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that we have great screening programs and the ability to decrease our risk for breast cancer. First, women should know that breast “awareness” is very important and easy to do. On a monthly basis, every woman should feel her breasts, familiarizing herself with how they look and feel. This allows her to identify changes that then should be reported to her physician. Additionally, women who are age 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam by her physician every 1-3 years. Women who are 40 or older should have a breast exam and mammogram annually.
Many women breast feed for the benefit that it offers their newborn child. Fortunately, breast feeding is a great way to decrease one’s risk for breast cancer also. Additional ways include eating a low fat diet, avoiding or minimizing alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly. Some women, regardless of their lifestyle will develop breast cancer. Women in high risk groups, identified by family history, should discuss this with her doctor.
The month of October is over and breast cancer awareness will fade until next October. During these next few days, take the opportunity to jump start your breast health by making good lifestyle choices and getting up to date with your breast cancer screening.