For more than 25 years, October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During this time, great strides have been made in the fight against this deadly disease. Those of us whose lives have been impacted by a diagnosis of breast cancer are acutely aware that there is much more to be done, and that is why we are committed to raising awareness and funds to continue the fight.
Although it cannot be prevented, there are choices we can make to reduce our risk of developing breast cancer.
- Exercise: Studies have shown that regular physical activity reduces breast cancer risk and also helps keep weight under control, which may also reduce risk.
- Diet: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, poultry and fish, and low fat dairy products is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. And, as we know, a healthy diet helps us maintain a healthy weight.
- Limit Alcohol: Having even one alcoholic drink a day can slightly increase your risk of breast cancer, while having two or more drinks per day is linked to a higher risk.
- Hormone Replacement: In 2002, researchers found a link between Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and increased risk for breast cancer. If you do decide to try HRT, consider using it at the lowest dose that works for you and for as short a time as possible.
Finally, the importance of finding breast cancer before symptoms are present cannot be overstated. Early detection of breast cancer saves lives. Talk to family members and your doctor to learn more about your risk of developing breast cancer. Your doctor can recommend which breast cancer screening tests, such as mammography, ultrasound and MRI, may be right for you.
Losing a family member is devastating. If you are overdue for breast cancer screening, commit to scheduling that appointment before the end of October. Taking care of our health is one of the most meaningful and enduring gifts we can give those we love.