It is a widely accepted fact that breast cancer and genetics have a definite connection, but even if breast cancer runs in your family, you can still have some control over some of the environmental or lifestyle factors that can increase or decrease your risks.
First of all, leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of getting any type of cancer, breast cancer included. If you are overweight, it can increase your chances of getting several types of cancer, and research has shown a probable link between obesity and breast cancer, especially after menopause.
Losing weight in a safe and healthy manner is one way to practice breast cancer prevention. This can be done by eating fewer calories, and making the calories that you do eat count; meaning that what you should include adequate servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with less emphasis put on meats and fats.
Include foods in your diet that are high in antioxidants, such as soy, green tea, and berries.
Exercise is essential for healthy weight loss also, and aerobic exercise also increases the oxygen levels in the body, which boosts the body’s ability to fight disease.
Decreasing the amount of alcohol that you consume can also lower your risk of getting breast cancer, and experts suggest no more than two drinks per day, if you drink at all. One drink consists of one 12 oz beer, one 4 oz glass of wine, or ½ oz of hard liquor such as vodka or whiskey.
Although there are ways to lower your risks, there are, unfortunately, no guarantees when it comes to getting breast cancer. For this reason, breast cancer early detection is essential.
Most medical experts agree that if all cases of breast cancer were detected early, 1000’s of lives could be saved each year. Mammograms can be very effective when it comes to breast cancer early detection.
If breast cancer seems to run in your family, you should start having mammograms as soon as your early 20’s – and continue to have them once a year.
If you don’t have a strong family history of breast cancer, you should start having mammograms when you are 40, and you should have them every one to two years until the age of 50, and then once a year after that.
In addition to mammograms for breast cancer early detection, you should also perform weekly breast self-examinations. Your regular doctor or gynecologist will show you the proper way to examine your breasts for lumps.
If you find a lump, consult your doctor, even if you believe it is due to something besides breast cancer. It is better to be safe than sorry.