October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast cancer is the number one cancer in women worldwide. Every woman has wondered, “What if ?” while awaiting the result of a mammogram. Sadly, about one in eight of these women, the question will become, “Oh no, what now?” The truth is that,while all women are at risk for breast cancer, there are proactive measures which lower the odds of contracting breast cancer. All of these choices are part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Alcohol raises the risk for breast cancer, even in small amounts. Women who drink in low or moderate amounts have an elevated risk over those who abstain. This fact is very important for you to keep in mind if there is a history of breast cancer in your family. Alcohol raises estrogen levels, making it easier for cancer to develop.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fish, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Limit red meat to one or two servings per week. When consuming red meat, try to purchase organic, grass fed, free range meat. When cows graze naturally their milk and meat contain high amounts of omega-3 fat. Omega-3 fat reduces the risk for many cancers, including breast cancer. Conventionally raised meat does not have the omega-3 benefit.
- Schedule your annual mammogram. Mammograms will detect 80% of early breast cancers. Examine your breasts regularly; you might feel a lump before it is time for your mammogram. Early detection leads to treating cancer while it is still small. Between 1990 and 2000 the deaths attributable to breast cancer fell 24%, largely due to early screening.
- Regular exercise is protective. Aim for daily aerobic exercise. If you are in NYC, please join our aerobic outings in Central Park. Be consistent in your workouts – think of them as “health appointments”.
- Keep your weight under control. In adulthood, increased weight equals increased risk. Maintaining a normal, stable body weight lowers the risk for breast cancer. Increased body fat directly raises the levels of circulating hormones, such as insulin, insulin-like growth factor, and estrogen. These hormones encourage cancer development.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is essential for all of us. Let’s face it: our modern day environment encourages high sugar, high fat, high calorie foods, which have no benefit to our health. We need to become mindful of foods. Think about what you are eating. Make sure you are giving your body the exercise it deserves daily. If you need to lose weight, address the issue.
Copyright © Jana Klauer, M.D., P.C. Reprinted with permission.