Take Steps to Prevent, Fight Breast Cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to increase public knowledge of breast cancer and emphasize the importance of early detection of a disease that affects more than 200,000 women every year in the United States.  

Breast cancer is a complex disease with widely varied risk factors – from aging and family history to lifestyle factors and even environmental exposure. Though a number of things can increase the risk for developing breast cancer, being diligent about preventive screenings and taking steps to improve overall health can improve a patient’s prognosis or help reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.

“Every woman needs to talk with her doctor about her family history and learn the importance of performing self exams and scheduling a mammogram,” Harbin Clinic Obstetrician and Gynecologsit Dr. Marc Dean says. “It’s also important to quit smoking and to make sure you get enough exercise not only to help prevent cancer and other diseases but to make sure you have a more healthy life.”

Screenings Are Your Best Defense

No one looks forward to them, but mammogram screenings are the best defense against breast cancer. Be sure to follow your provider’s breast screening recommendations. For women age 20 and older, self-breast exams are recommended. Diagnosing the disease in its earliest and most curable stage is critical to having the best chance of survival.

Kick Bad Habits

Breast cancer risk aside, your overall health and wellness depends on making wise choices when it comes to what you put in your body. Quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol consumption can help lower your risk of getting breast cancer as well.

Break A Sweat

Studies have shown regular physical activity can help lower the risk of breast cancer by as much as 10 to 20 percent. Exercising doesn’t mean running a marathon or living at the gym, though.

Walking, hiking or biking five days a week for just 30 minutes a day can help boost the body’s immune system and fight the growth of cancer cells. Regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity, which is critical because being overweight can dramatically increase breast cancer risk.

A Healthy Diet Can Help

Eating a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important for promoting overall health. Consuming nutritious foods can help strengthen the immune system and give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay strong and pack a punch against many illnesses and diseases, including breast cancer.

Know Your Body

Being self-aware and knowing what is normal for your body is important. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump, nipple discharge or skin changes, see a doctor immediately.  Make sure you’re an advocate for your own health. It can save your life.

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.