5 Risk Factors For Breast Cancer You Can Influence
Breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer occurring among women in the United States. In fact, one in eight American women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. That means a new diagnosis is made every two minutes. But despite these alarming statistics, there is good news. Thanks to early detection and treatment advances, deaths due to breast cancer fell almost 40 percent between 1989 and 2015, and there are over 3.5 million breast cancer survivors here in the U.S.
Understanding risk factors for breast cancer is one way you can reduce the likelihood of a diagnosis. It is important to know what can you and what can’t you control. While some things will always be out of our control, like growing older, individual family history, and breast composition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlined five risk factors for breast cancer that you can influence. The first step is knowing what they are.
Women who are physically active have a lowered risk of getting breast cancer. Even moderate exercise will reap a wealth of benefits - just focus on consistency.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Women who are overweight or obese after experiencing menopause have a higher risk of breast cancer than women who maintain a healthy weight. Speak to your doctor about a goal weight, and take sensible steps like proper nutrition and regular exercise to reach it.
While you can’t change the past, you can make plans for the future. If you’re planning to have children, it’s important to know that women who have their first pregnancy before turning 30 and choose to breastfeed have a lowered risk of breast cancer. Women who have never carried a pregnancy to full term have a higher likelihood of breast cancer.
Some kinds of hormone replacement therapy, including both estrogen and progesterone, can increase the risk of breast cancer when they’re used for more than five years during menopause. Certain kinds of birth control pills can also mean a higher risk.
Breast cancer risk is consistently linked to the amount of alcohol a woman drinks. The CDC recommends limiting alcoholic beverages to one per day.
Annual Screenings & Self-Exams
While most breast cancer diagnoses come after women turn 50, the American Cancer Society recommends that women begin mammograms at age 40. Once they turn 45, these tests should be completed annually.
Familiarity with your breasts is important for maintaining breast health. It’s essential that you’re able to identify any changes in your breasts right away, which is why monthly self-exams are so critical. Pair your self-exam with a soothing massage oil like Love Your Breasts, and you’ll reap the benefits of breast massage at the same time. This kind of self-care is a beneficial way to encourage lymph circulation, which can be impaired by wearing a bra. A nightly ritual of tossing your bra in the corner and massaging your breasts will not only familiarize you with their typical shape and composition, it’s a good way to encourage regular movement in the lymphatic system and hence release the toxins from the area.
To perform a self-exam that doubles as a massage, start by stripping down and grabbing a pampering oil. Love Your Breasts is a potent blend of vegetable and therapeutic-grade essential oils that has been specifically formulated for breast skin nourishment and health. Use the pads of your fingers to move around the entire breast in a circular fashion, moving inward from the outside. Check the entire breast and armpit area for any thickening, hardened spots, or lumps. If you notice any breast changes, let your doctor know immediately.
There is no guarantee against breast cancer, but taking every effort to control what you can is a step in the right direction.