What you need to know

Understand Your Risk.

 
 

1. Ask Your Family.

 
 

Knowing your family history is beneficial to gaining a better understanding into your health and possible needs.  Taking this step is one of the most vital things you can do for your self.  Research has shown that breast cancer is connected in families.  

So where do you start your investigation? 

Begin by finding out which relatives suffered from cancer.  Although the focus is breast cancer, it doesn't matter which kind because getting the information on the other types are useful in understanding your health and risks.  So make a list of who and the age he or she was diagnosed.  

“We cannot direct the winds but we can adjust the sails .”

— Anonymous

 
 
 

2. Know Your Body.

 
 

It's not enough to just visit with a medical professional when you are sick, meeting with your OB/GYN or primary care physician on a regular basis is another important step in maintaining your well-being. Keeping up with annual exams and following doctor recommendations are excellent ways to better understand your body. 

Before You Go

Because most visits with health care providers are short, you have to make the best out of your time.  To jump start the conversation about your breast health, the best way to get started is to ask a series of questions. Before you go, prepare a list of questions before hand to take with you.  This not only saves time, but helps you remember special items you want to cover.  

Below are just a few sample questions to help get you started. 

  1. What are the risk factors?
  2. What does it mean to be at a high risk?
  3. What are the signs?
  4. Based on my family information, what are my risks?
  5. How do you determine my risk based on my family history?

If you want, you can download this form to use on your next visit with your doctor. 

Doctor Visit Handout

 
 
 

3. Reduce Your Risk.

 
 

Although the thought of the task may be a little daunting, the actual steps are simple.  There are really easy choices that one can make to help with reducing your risk.  Adopting new habits helps with developing a healthier lifestyle that is beneficial to your body and overall well-being. 

Eat Healthy, Eat Well

There is a ton of research that shows how what we eat effects our overall health.  This doesn't mean that you should drastically change your diet to something that is an unrealistic goal. But rather make small, gradual changes, until you find what works for you. Nutritious foods like broccoli, berries, and walnuts have been linked to inexpensive, natural cancer fighting tools to help manage your health.  

Regular Excercise 

Sustaining a health weight is essential.  Because of the excess estrogen produced by the additional fatty tissue, there is a connection between obesity and breast cancer.  Though the link between weight gain and breast cancer is higher in women after menopause, it is never too early to develop a habit of being more active.  30 minutes of daily exercise is recommended as an important part of remaining healthy and reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Stop Smoking

It's no secret that smoking can cause a variety of health issues.  In addition to the other health problems, smoking has been linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer.  Smoking can also increase the likelihood of complications from breast cancer treatment.  

So if you are a smoker, seek out resources that can help with quitting.  If you don't smoke, don't start.