October may be a month of pumpkins, candy and spooky fun-filled activities, however in the healthcare arena, it is a time to think pink! October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Following skin cancer, it is the second most common cancer among American women, which is why spreading awareness is so important. Preventive measures and early detection are crucial in the battle against this disease. Here are some ways to help lower your risk of breast cancer:
Get screened regularly
- Make it a habit to perform a monthly breast exam
- Have a clinical breast examination by a doctor or nurse during your routine physical checkups
- Talk to your doctor about having a mammogram, which is like an x-ray for the breast, and if it is right for you. The CDC recommends women between the ages of 50 and 74 have one every two years.
Adopt healthy habits
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay physically active
- Eat a well-balanced diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Limit your alcohol consumption
- Stop smoking
Know your family history
- Women who have close relatives who had breast or ovarian cancer are at an increased risk.
Know your hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- If you are on a HRT to treat the symptoms of menopause, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.
Although breast cancer mainly affects women, everybody can get involved in the community and help spread awareness about this disease and the importance of early detection. Here are some ways to support the cause:
- Participate in a breast cancer walk
- Teach your family, friends and co-workers about preventive measures and having routine checkups with their doctor
- Wear a breast cancer awareness ribbon
- Donate to a breast cancer research organization
- Volunteer with a breast cancer foundation in your area
Support the fight and think pink this month!