There is no guaranteed method to prevent breast cancer. While experts have made significant strides in diagnosing and treating breast cancer, its exact cause is still unknown. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are several things women can do today to help prevent breast cancer or treat it effectively if diagnosed.
This is one of our strongest tools in fighting breast cancer. While the screening process may reveal that you have cancer, detecting cancer early increases your chances of survival.
- Mammograms: The American Cancer Society recommends having regular mammograms starting at age 40. More frequent screenings may be recommended if you are at increased risk.
- Clinical Breast Exam: Guidelines recommend that women receive a clinical breast exam every three years, ages 20-39, and every year starting at age 40.
- Self-Breast Exam: According to the Susan B. Komen Foundation, breast self-awareness is a tool that may help you understand how your breasts normally look and feel. If you notice changes, talk to your doctor
Having a close family member who has had breast cancer almost doubles your risk of getting breast cancer. This is for family members on both your mother’s and father’s side of the family. It is important to remember that most women who get breast cancer do not have a family history.
Yes, this is largely outside of your control. You may have heard that not having children or not breastfeeding may increase your risk of breast cancer. Experts believe that it is related to the fewer number of life-time menstrual cycles that women who have children or breastfeed will have. It is important to note that the increased risk is quite small.
Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco, and consuming alcohol in moderation help decrease your risk of getting breast cancer, in addition to other cancers and heart disease. While a walk on the treadmill is not a guarantee, it will do more good than harm.
Do you have questions about breast cancer prevention and screening? Lawnwood Regional Medical Center is here to be your resource for preventative health care. Please call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-800-446-6956 with any health questions and for physician referrals.