National Cancer Prevention Month: February
Almost every month of the year is dedicated to a specific type of cancer awareness. February is not only Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness month, but it also shares National Cancer Prevention Month. We at the Chrysalis Method specialize in Breast health and want to make sure women have all of the resources available to help prevent breast cancer. Knowing risk factors as well as how to detect breast cancer early on can significantly reduce breast cancer from progressing.
Please visit our blog post from Breast Cancer Awareness Month for some eye-opening statistics as well as education to help raise awareness as well as prevent breast cancer! Breast Cancer Awareness Blog
We pulled some of our most helpful tips from that blog to help you understand the risks and early detection.
Risk Factors You Can Control
Many risk factors are beyond your control such as age, race, family history and medical history. As always, be sure to talk to your doctor about your risk factors for breast cancer. There are some associated risk factors that you can control and should take steps at minimizing for your overall health and wellbeing. According to BreastCancer.org, these are some behaviors you can adapt to help reduce your risk of breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintain a healthy diet (some associations have been made with diets low in fat reducing risk of breast cancer)
- Exercise regularly (The American Cancer Society recommends engaging in 45-60 minutes of physical exercise 5 or more days a week.)
- Reduce alcohol consumption (Alcohol can limit your liver’s ability to control blood levels of the hormone estrogen, which in turn can increase risk.)
- Stop Smoking
- Talk to your doctor about your oral contraception
- Reduce stress and Anxiety (There is no clear proof that stress and anxiety can increase breast cancer risk, however there is proof that reducing stress and anxiety can improve your immune system.)
Risk Factors You Cannot Control
Although there are many behaviors and habits that women can control or change to reduce chances of breast cancer, some things are out of our hands. For example, being female is a genetic trait that poses higher risk than being male. However, just because you have a risk factor does not mean you will get breast cancer. It’s important to have the information and awareness because early detection can be life saving.
If you would like a list of genetic risk factors please visit Cancer.org for more information.
Early Detection of Breast Cancer
Early detection is so critical and can be life saving with breast cancer and that is why knowing the symptoms, performing screening and self-breast exams is so important. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has a free symptom guide that you can download by visiting their website here.
According to the American Cancer Society, any of the following unusual changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
- swelling of all or part of the breast
- skin irritation or dimpling
- breast pain
- nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- a nipple discharge other than breast milk
- a lump in the underarm area
If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns. Sometimes these changes can be signs of something such as an infection, cyst, benign fibrous tissue, or something else. But it’s important to not ignore any changes that occur in your breasts and get checked early by your doctor.
Prevent Breast Cancer When You Can
Although some things that cause breast cancer are completely uncontrollable, there are things that can be controlled as well as detected early on. With February being National Cancer Prevention month, we ask that you take a look at your habits as well as start performing self-breast exams to help prevent breast cancer as much as possible. Please let us know if you have any questions and know that we are here to help you both prevent, prepare, and recover from any type of breast surgery at TheChrysalisMethod.