1 in 8 women born in the US today will be affected by the disease in their lifetime. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in women. The American Cancer Society predicts that in 2015, among US women there will be 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer, and 40,290 breast cancer deaths.
So how can raising awareness help?
First of all, we can spread the word about how women can detect breast cancer early. It is recommended that women between 50-74 years of age receive a mammogram screening every 2 years, but when you turn 40, you should talk to your doctor about when to start. If you have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, screening is recommended more often.
Nevertheless, no matter your risk or age, it is important to do a self-check every month! There are great iPhone and Android apps out there that can help with what to look for, reminders, and etc. These are some of the best apps from this year from Healthline: http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/top-iphone-android-apps#2
Cancer is complex and caused by a number of factors, only some of which are in our control- being a woman and aging clearly are beyond that, along with our genes- inheriting the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation can increase your risk of developing hereditary breast cancer by about 45-65%. Most breast cancers are not hereditary, however.
Here are a few lifestyle tips that may have a bit more control over…
1) Eat whole, organic foods as much as possible, and limit sugar and processed foods. Processed and pre-packaged foods can increase our exposure to harmful chemicals.
Now is the perfect time of year to add deep orange veggies to our diets- squashes, sweet potatoes and carrots, as well as melons, are high in Vitamin A and carotenoids which are known for their cancer-preventing properties
2) Maintain a healthy weight and normal exercise routine. Being overweight or gaining significant weight has been linked to a higher risk, and regular exercise has been found to lower risk by about 10-20%. If would like guidance we have a new Deflate Your Weight Program starting next week!
3) Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption. According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, studies have found that women who consume 2-3 alcoholic beverages per day have a 20% higher risk of breast cancer than non-drinkers.
4) Breastfeed! Several studies have found that the longer you breastfeed, the more your risk of developing breast cancer is decreased. One study even found up to a 59% reduction in premenopausal women who had breastfed for any length of time.
And remember… we’re all in this together! Let’s support each other, spread the word, and get involved in our communities. Check out these great events going on through the rest of the month in New Jersey.