Breast Cancer Prevention Through Lifestyle Changes
Worldwide, breast cancer remains one of the most common causes of death in women, and men are affected as well. While this cancer has no cure, there is growing awareness that one of the best ways to combat it is by making positive changes in lifestyle. Being ‘breast healthy’ is vital not only for cancer prevention but overall health. Women and men who are breast healthy should be aware of risk factors for breast cancer, know about their family history of cancer and undertake proactive measures to lower the risk of this cancer.
For many of us, our lifestyle choices are determined by where we live and work, income, the standard of housing, quality ofair we breathe, food that we eat and access to public places and healthcare centers. The good news is that in most cases these lifestyle factors are modifiable and can have a major impact on future health.
Some of the lifestyle measures that can be undertaken to lower the risk of breast cancer include the following:
Healthy Weight: There is ample evidence available today which indicates that obesity by itself is a risk factor for many types of cancer. In addition, obesity is unhealthy and leads to many complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression and a negative body image. So start by lowering your body weight.
Eat Healthy: Today we have come to realize that eating fast and processed foods is not good for health. Plus, many of the foods available are unregulated and contain an unknown number of chemicals and hormones. So start eating more fruits, veggies, low fat dairy, nuts, whole wheat and fish; at the same time, work to reduce your intake of meat. Animal meat has been linked to high cholesterol and heart disease.
Exercise: The importance of exercise cannot be overstated. It is the lack of exercise which is partially responsible for the obesity epidemic and the rising incidence of several cancers. When it comes to exercise, any type of physical activity is better than no activity. One does not have to join a gym or run a marathon every weekend. Simply walking is one of the best exercises one can do. Walking is free, it allows you to lose weight, you can enjoy nature and it is complication free – unless you get hit by a car or bus while texting on your smartphone – so pay attention!
Discontinue Smoking: Smoking has been linked to many cancers for both men and women and it leaves a bad odor. Despite the availability of many types of aids to help people stop smoking, it is known to be one of the hardest habits to break. If you have stopped smoking, congratulations! If you are still working on it, keep trying and don’t give up! Not only will this save you a lot of money, but your overall health will improve.
Cut Down On Alcohol: Over the years, the benefits of alcohol have been overhyped. Many people cannot control their intake of alcohol and this often leads to liver problems, addiction, dysfunctional behavior, breast cancer and an increase in body weight. The minor benefits of alcohol on blood, cholesterol and the heart can easily be overcome by walking instead.
Breastfeed: In general, women who breastfeed their babies have a much lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who have not breastfed. So continue breastfeeding for at least 9 to 12 months if you can. It is hard in the beginning but if you keep trying, your baby will love you for it and the hard work will pay off for both of you.
Avoid HRT: While many women are prescribed hormonal replacement therapy to treat symptoms of menopause, this treatment, if prolonged, is associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. Even bioidentical hormones may not be safe so be sure to check with your doctor.
Know Your Family History: If you have a family history of breast cancer tell your doctor. You may benefit from earlier screening with early detection and easier treatment.
Mammograms If You Are 40: One of the best ways to beat breast cancer is by detecting it early. Most experts agree that an annual mammogram can help detect breast cancer early and result in longer survival. Do not put off a mammogram because of fear of what may be discovered or discomfort. Today, the procedure can be done in a few minutes and the discomfort is well worth it.
Self-Exams. Finally examine your breasts and if you feel anything abnormal, go and see your healthcare provider. Get familiar with any lumps that native so you will be able to quickly detect any changes.
Breast cancer in women and men affects all of us in one way or another. If you don’t have it, you likely know someone who does (or did). Prevention is one way to avoid the diagnosis and lifestyle changes are a great way to start. Tell your friends and family to pay attention to their food and alcohol intake and to be consistent with regular physical activity to decrease the prevalence of this disease.
Thanks for reading!
Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org