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How To Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Unfortunately, most Americans have a friend, family member, or work colleague whose life has been affected by breast cancer. 

While identifying and limiting your chances of developing breast cancer doesn’t guarantee the disease won’t touch your life, there are numerous steps you can take to effectively reduce your personal risks.

The experts at Choice Cancer Care focus on providing the most accurate and effective cancer diagnostics and therapies available to patients throughout Texas from our state-of-the-art facilities in Plano, Lewisville, Irving, Decatur, and Southlake. 

The entire team is passionate about providing personalized, compassionate care for patients with all types of cancer

We’re also committed to helping you take steps to prevent cancer whenever possible and are happy to provide guidelines on breast cancer prevention.

Know your personal risk factors

In its initial stages, the signs and symptoms of breast cancer are often very subtle, which makes early detection and treatment difficult. 

Identifying your odds of developing breast cancer may help motivate you to schedule routine screening exams with your physician, follow home self-exam guidelines carefully, and decrease your risks by modifying negative habits as necessary.

There are numerous factors that increase your risk of developing breast cancer, some of which you can’t change, such as a family history of breast cancer. But you can lower other risks through certain choices you make regarding diet, exercise, and your daily routine.

Watch your weight

A healthy weight provides numerous physical and emotional rewards, including diminishing your risks of developing breast cancer. 

Individuals who are overweight, especially when they’ve accumulated excess pounds as an adult or following menopause, are more likely to develop breast cancer and other serious health concerns. 

Excess weight, for instance, often leads to insulin resistance and higher blood sugar levels, which increases your risk of developing breast cancer as well as diabetes.

Eat healthy

Diets that include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich legumes (beans and peas), whole grains, and lean proteins help you maintain a healthy weight and provide key nutrients your body requires for optimal health. 

We also recommend you avoid or limit processed meats, sugary beverages, and highly refined grain products (white bread). These foods contain huge quantities of sugar, salt, and other substances that negatively affect their nutritional value and can increase your risk of developing cancer. 

Excessive alcohol use also increases your risk of breast cancer.

Stay active

An overall active lifestyle that limits sedentary pastimes and includes routine exercise can effectively reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.

For your exercise regimen, choose an activity you enjoy and aim for a goal of 150-300 minutes per week that combines moderate exercise with periods of vigorous movement. 

For the most balanced benefits, make sure to include flexibility and strengthening exercises as well as cardiovascular training in your workout.

Look before you leap

Combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Note that estrogen-only HRT does not increase your risk of breast cancer but does elevate your chances of developing endometrial cancer if you have a uterus.

Discuss your options and risk factors with us before undergoing HRT to ease menopausal symptoms.

Fortunately, your risk of developing breast cancer linked to combined HRT declines three years after you stop taking the medication. Thus, if you do choose HRT, consider the lowest dose possible for the shortest amount of time.

Stay connected

Detect changes in your breast tissue early by scheduling routine exams and including a monthly breast self-exam on your calendar. 

During your self-exam, include these checks:

Appearance

Stand in front of a mirror and check for unusual dimpling or other changes in your breast size, skin texture, shape, or appearance. Now do the same with both arms raised above your head.

Feel

Lie down and raise your left arm comfortably above your head. This positioning helps spread the breast tissue evenly and makes it easier to feel abnormalities. 

Use the first three fingers of your right hand to smoothly palpate the left breast in a quarter-size circular motion and vary the pressure from light to firm as you systematically palpate the entire breast. Then raise your right arm and repeat the process on the right breast.

In the shower

Next, check your breasts while standing, often best accomplished in the shower. Raise one hand and then the other above your head and palpate your breasts as described above.

If you’re not sure about proper technique, recall and mimic your physician’s movements during a previous visit and/or ask your provider for a quick lesson on breast self-exam during your next appointment.

Rest assured that most lumps and bumps in your breasts are benign (noncancerous). But early detection of precancerous changes and/or cancerous tumors is often key to successful treatment outcomes.

For more information regarding your risks of developing breast cancer or the therapies we offer for this dangerous but increasingly treatable disease, schedule a visit at Choice Cancer Care today by calling 214-379-2700 or by requesting an appointment online.

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