All women have potential risk for breast cancer. As women get older, this risk increases, but it’s never too soon to become more informed about breast cancer! Knowing about breast cancer prevention could save your life. Keep reading if you want to learn what every woman should know about breast cancer!
What Every Woman Should Know About Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Prevention Tips
There are multiple ways you can proactively manage your health that might reduce your breast cancer risk. Your weight and amount of physical activity, as well as your lifestyle, all have the potential to contribute to your risk. Additionally, certain hormonal treatments can contribute to risk.
Weight and Breast Cancer
If you are overweight or have gained weight as an adult, your risk for postmenopausal breast cancer is higher. Maintaining a healthy weight can be easier with a healthy diet. Staying physically active could contribute to a healthy weight. Exercising can also have preventative properties on its own, without weight loss as an additional goal. Getting your heart rate up with exercise every week is recommended to prevent future health problems.
Lifestyle and Breast Cancer
Even with relatively low use of alcohol, you may still be raising your risk! It’s a good idea to watch your alcohol consumption if you are worried about breast cancer. You can minimize your risk by having no more than one drink a day.
Hormones and Breast Cancer
Certain hormonal treatments can raise your risk of breast cancer. Sometimes postmenopausal women take hormone replacement therapy to help alleviate the unpleasant side effects of menopause. If you are postmenopausal, you may want to consider non-hormonal options instead.
Hormonal birth control can also raise your risk for breast cancer. However, there are often strong reasons premenopausal women opt for birth control. If you are worried about your risk, it’s best to talk to your doctor. It’s possible that hormonal birth control could still be the right choice for you! Everyone’s body is different.
Early Warning Signs of Breast Cancer
It’s important to be familiar with your own body because this can help you and your doctor detect breast cancer early. Family history also plays a part. If breast cancer runs in your family, there are extra precautions your doctor might take.
- A lump in or near your breast tissue
- Swelling in your armpits or arms
- Breast pain or discomfort
- Nipple pain or discomfort, such as itching or burning
- Nipples turning inward or producing discharge
- Changes in the way your breasts look, such as rashes, sores, or new dimples
- Changes in the way your breasts feel, such as size or firmness
- A warm spot in your breast
Any of these symptoms mean you should see your doctor for further examination. Most breast lumps do not end up being cancer, so don’t panic!
Your family history also plays an important part in considering your breast cancer risk. One close relative with breast cancer means your risk is double the standard risk. Two close relatives mean you have triple the risk. For this reason, it’s very important to share your family history with your doctor. Genetic testing could reveal that you have certain mutations in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. This means your risk for breast cancer is higher than normal.
How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?
It’s important to detect breast cancer early before the disease progresses. The recommended way to do so is to get annual breast cancer screenings as part of your routine medical care. If you are a woman in your 20s or 30s, a yearly breast examination is usually sufficient, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Around the 40s, women should switch to an annual mammogram instead of a clinical breast examination. Mammograms are highly effective at detecting cancer! In fact, a mammogram has the potential to identify breast cancer up to two years before a woman would even feel a lump.
Thankfully, early detection and improved medical treatment are very effective! 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive after the 5-year mark of their original diagnosis.
Schedule an Exam with Us Today
If you are curious about your breast cancer risk, it’s never too early to schedule an exam! Maybe you found a lump, or maybe you just have some questions. Either way, if you are looking for a breast cancer surgeon in Houston, look no further than the Breast Health Institute in Houston!