1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and, while breast cancer can be genetic, most cases aren’t due to genetic factors. Even if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer, it’s still important to protect yourself. With that said, what are some ways you can protect yourself?
Create a Healthy Lifestyle
Exercising regularly, having a balanced diet, limiting substance abuse (such as smoking and drinking), and maintaining a healthy weight can all help reduce your risk of breast cancer and other harmful diseases. Sign up for free classes at your gym, enlist yourself in raking leaves for your neighbor, or get involved in health incentive programs your health plan might offer such as the MotivHealth Steps Program.
Getting breast cancer may not always be preventable, regardless of genetics or lifestyle. Familiarize yourself with actions you should take in detecting breast cancer early on.
Be aware of any unusual changes in the breast or underarm areas such as breast pain or discomfort, breast lumps, changes in breast or nipple appearance, and/or clear or bloody nipple discharge. This can be found while performing breast self-exams at home or during your annual breast exams. If you’re age 40 or older, mammograms should be done about every year.
Breast cancer can be detected and diagnosed through a mammogram, MRI, biopsy, or ultrasound. If test results come back positive for breast cancer, it will then be determined how much the disease has progressed.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, there are generally five treatment options that depend on the stage of breast cancer. These treatment options typically include a combination of radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and targeted therapies.
During treatment, it’s important to take care of yourself. As mentioned earlier, while living a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of getting breast cancer, it can also help you to maintain good health during treatment as well as after.