Know Your Symptoms: Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a special observance dedicated to increasing awareness of both breast cancer and early detection through health screenings.

Encourage the women in your life to get themselves screened for the second most common cancer that affects over 200,000 women in the U.S. annually.

Take a Walk

While exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least three hours a week has also been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer by 30-40 percent. In fact, the American Cancer Society recommends that you do two strength training sessions a week, along with aerobic exercise, to help boost your immune system and lower the levels of certain hormones that are linked to higher risks of cancer.

Put Down the Wine Glass

Regular alcohol consumption has been linked to a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol increases your body’s levels of estrogen, which is a hormone that is linked to breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, consuming two to five drinks a day increases your risk by 1.5 times, compared to women who do not drink at all.

Know the Symptoms

While the symptoms of breast cancer are varied and sometimes don’t show up easily, women should take note of any major changes in their breasts. Any new lumps, swelling, dimpling and changes in size or shape should be discussed with your doctor. Although these changes are symptoms of breast cancer, many times these symptoms can instead be attributed to other non-cancerous medical conditions.

Visit Your Doctor

Regular mammograms are a key part of early diagnosis and treatment. Women diagnosed at Stage 0 or Stage 1 have a five-year survival rate of 99%. If you’re 40 years old or older, the American Cancer Society recommends a mammogram every year. Women who are 20 years and older should have a clinical breast exam at least every three years.

Harbin Clinic cares completely about the, mamas, sisters, best friends, and nanas in your family. For more information, contact the Harbin Clinic Women’s Center in Rome or Cartersville at 762-235-2710 or 470-490-7200.

Harbin Clinic Cartersville Imaging, Redmond, and Floyd all perform mammograms — ask your doctor about yearly mammograms today.