We are fully immersed in October from the pumpkin every things to football season. You probably have noticed a lot of talk about breast cancer awareness on my blog, on your TV and locally I hope as it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While your breast cancer risk largely depends on your genetics, there are known practices we can do to reduce our own risk of developing the disease. Here are 5 tips to help prevent breast cancer.
Women who exercise four or more hours a week have a lower risk of breast cancer by 10-30%. If that number sounds unrealistic, other studies suggest that moderately exercises 150 minutes a week can even help lower your risk as well. A byproduct of estrogen has been linked to causing cancer. Exercise helps break down estrogen so researchers think that by getting in plenty of physical activity you reduce the amount of the cancer causing byproduct in your body. If not to prevent cancer, exercise for one of the thousand other health benefits.
#2. Eat foods packed with carotenoids.
Fruits and veggies that are the color orange, spinach, kale, tomatoes and salmon are all loaded with carotenoids and by eating a diet rich in them could lower your risk by as much as 50% according to a study from Brigham and Women’s hospital and Harvard University.
#3. Maintain a healthy weight.
There is a difference between your goal weight, your vanity goal weight and a healthy weight. To keep your risk of breast cancer low, maintain a healthy weight with a BMI under 25. This is drastically different from your “vanity goal weight.” If you just want to lose the last 10 lbs, chances are you are at a healthy weight. I hate the BMI because it doesn’t differentiate muscle from fat but it’s a simple easy marker. After menopause, if you are obese, your risk drastically increases which sucks because it’s also harder to lose weight at that point as your metabolism slows down. Bottom line, you do not want to be obese after menopause so just maintain a BMI under 25 for longevity. Get your BMI by checking out this calendar. My BMI is 22.
#4. Check your breasts.
This sounds like a no brainer but most women don’t think about it until they visit a doctor. Look for marble sized masses that move when you touch them. Other visible signs include red, warm and painful breasts, random nipple leakage, swollen and bumpy breasts before your period. If you find something, don’t freak out but visit your doctor. As someone whose mother has had many benign false alarm lumps, it can be scary but stay calm until your doctor has assessed the situation. That being said, if you think your doctor is wrong, do not hesitate to get a second opinion. Listen to your gut because you may know better despite no medical degree. When treated at Stage 1, an early and localized stage, the 5-year survival rates are about 98%. You tumor may only be the size of a peanut so no lump is too small!
#5. Help spread the word.
61% of people say that when they see someone wearing breast cancer merchandise, it makes them more proactive about their own breast health. Your contribution and efforts could save a life. As you know, I’m working with Ford Warriors In Pink this season. Check out their line of BC awareness clothing as a gift to a loved one or survivor. 100% of the net proceeds go to one of 4 breast cancer charities. One of those charities is Susan G Komen which I am running for on Sunday in the Chicago marathon.
I reached my goal of raising $1500 earlier this week and am so thankful to all my friends and family who donated. You have no idea how much your donation means to me. I can’t wait for Sunday!