October 11, 2019

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer women fight. According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, there were nearly 1.7 million new breast cancer cases diagnosed in 2012. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are sharing a few prevention methods you can use to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Creating a Consistent Exercise Routine

The American Cancer Society recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Whether your favorite activity is dancing, swimming, biking, walking or running, get moving! Some household chores are also considered to be good sources of moderate intensity exercise. Some examples include cleaning, such as washing windows, mopping or vacuuming, gardening and using a power mower to mow the lawn.

Quit Smoking

Smoking can cause many different types of cancer, including breast cancer. The National Foundation for Cancer Research shares that it also can damage organs in your body, including your lungs, blood vessels, heart, eyes, bones and skin. If you’re a smoker, the first thing you need to do is quit! Avoid secondhand smoke if and when possible, as it can cause just as much damage as smoking.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

While no food or diet can prevent you from developing breast cancer, eating healthy food and taking care of your body can help keep your risk for breast cancer low. According to BreastCancer.org, eating foods that make your body healthy and boost your immune system can help reduce your risk for developing breast cancer. Consuming a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes not only gives your body the energy you need, but also helps maintain a healthy and strong immune system.

There are several steps you can take to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Being more cognizant of increasing your fruit and vegetable intake doesn’t have to be stressful, though. Making a simple dinner like spaghetti? Add vegetables like mushrooms, onions, chopped squash or bell peppers to your sauce to get an extra serving of veggies for the day. Making a healthy fall soup for the week? Add a handful of kale or spinach into your soup to get an extra serving of dark, leafy greens.

Be Aware of Your Family Medical History

Does breast cancer run in your family? You may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer if you have family members who have had it. The first thing you will want to do is consult family members about your family medical history. Extend this beyond your immediate family and also ask what health conditions your aunts, uncles, and cousins have had. This will give you a comprehensive idea of the medical conditions you need to be aware of. Talk to your primary care physician about your family medical history, as they can help determine what screenings will be appropriate for you and how you can be proactive about certain conditions.

While being aware of controllable risk factors for breast cancer is important, it’s also important to get appropriate screenings and mammograms to detect any signs of breast cancer. Consult your primary care physician about what screenings are best for you and when you need to get them.

At The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus, we offer digital breast imaging services, including 3D mammograms, at two convenient locations. Call 785-295-8855 to schedule your mammography appointment today.

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