We all like to think that we have some level of control over our own lives. There are conscious decisions we make that can increase the chance of a positive outcome, but life has a way of throwing curveballs when we least expect it. There is no way to guarantee that you will never develop breast cancer. However, you can take steps to limit your risk and maximize your chance of finding a tumor early by using preventative measures and preserving your general health. These are just a few ways you can work towards that goal.
How to Limit Breast Cancer Risk?
Knowing how to limit your breast cancer risk is an important step to take in your life. Your body, and your mind, will appreciate it. For the best breast cancer treatment Houston has, visit the Breast Institute of Houston. If you have any concerns, our lumpectomy expert Houston will help you out.
Get Genetically Tested
If you have a family history of breast cancer, then you should consider undergoing a genetic test to determine if the women in your family are more likely to develop breast cancer due to a genetic factor. Researchers have found that a mutation to the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene is the most common cause of hereditary breast cancer.
Many women avoid this test out of fear of what they will find, but this is actually powerful information that could save your life. If it turns out that you have one of these mutations, then your doctor will suggest that you start screening at a younger age. Plus, it will give them the evidence they need to convince your insurance company that the early screenings are medically necessary.
Don’t Skip Breast Health Screenings
Regardless of genetic factors, you should perform self-examinations at least once a month. For the most thorough exam, you should use two fingers moving vertically down the breast. Start from one side and move your way across. You should perform this examination while standing and while lying down, as the breast tissue will lay differently. During your self-examination, pay attention to anything that looks or feels out of place. Over time, you will get used to how your breasts feel and what doesn’t belong.
In addition to self-examinations, you should receive an annual mammogram starting at the age of 45. Women with genetic risk factors may start this process much earlier. By checking on yourself and getting a professional to review your breasts for possible growths, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of catching a tumor while it is still small enough for easy removal.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Research shows that anything more than one alcoholic beverage a day increases your risk of developing breast cancer. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to limit your consumption. A small glass of wine with dinner can be a great way to relax and enjoy the finer things in life, but anything more could put you at risk.
Give Your Diet a Mediterranean Spin
It’s always a good idea to give your body the nutrition it needs to function optimally. You should always try to make sure your body is getting the fuel, vitamins, and minerals it needs. However, there is some evidence to suggest that specific foods may increase your chance of living a cancer-free life. A Mediterranean diet hosts many of these foods. Healthy fats found in olive oil and nuts appear to contribute to this correlation. Also, a diet that includes plenty of antioxidants may decrease your risk.
Maintain a Healthy Physique
You don’t need to look like a swimsuit model to be healthy. However, maintaining a healthy weight range and engaging in vigorous exercise a couple of times a week will give your body the tools it needs to protect itself. In many cases, people don’t really know how to make this transition on their own. If you struggle to balance your meals or find ways to enjoy physical activity, don’t be afraid to ask a medical expert. It’s more common than you think.
The Reality of Cancer
The truth is that you can do everything right and still get cancer. You can limit your breast cancer risk, but there is no guarantee. Luckily, our medical experts are improving treatments every day. Unlike our mothers and grandmothers, we have many options that can treat cancer without leaving us feeling disfigured. As long as the tumor is caught early enough, you can even opt for oncoplastic surgery, which improves on a traditional lumpectomy by devoting time and attention to the physical appearance of the breast once the tumor is removed.
At Breast Health Institute Houston, Dr. Darlene M. Miltenburg aims to treat the whole woman, not just her cancer. Oncoplastic surgery is part of this mission, as it allows Dr. Miltenburg to use the lumpectomy as an opportunity to improve the look of a woman’s breasts during surgery. As a result, breast cancer patients can actually come out of surgery with breasts that improve their relationship with their body during a difficult time.