Most of us know someone personally that is fighting or coping with the realities of breast cancer or has in the past. Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a great time to be even more diligent about taking charge of your own health to help prevent breast cancer for yourself and loved ones.
Have you had your mammogram yet this year?
Aside from making good decisions every day about diet, exercise, not smoking and moderating your alcohol consumption, the single best thing you can do for your health is go to your doctor for an annual physical and get regular health screenings. For a list of the screenings you need, click here if you are a man and here if you are a woman.
Every October is a good reminder about breast cancer awareness. Women are you getting your annual breast exam and a mammogram if recommended by your ob/gyn? You can lower your modifiable risk factors for breast cancer by:
Maintaining a healthy weight. Your risk of breast cancer and breast cancer reoccurrence is higher if you are overweight or obese, particularly after menopause.
Staying active. Women are not physical active may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. And of course, physical activity will help keep excess weight off.
- Cutting your alcohol intake. Though you may have seen reports that alcohol might actually have some health benefits, research shows that the more alcohol a woman drinks the higher her risk of breast cancer.
Vitamin D Deficiency May be a Risk Factor
In addition to these risk factors, scientists are also studying a number of other potential risk factors possibly related to breast cancer. In particular, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a worse prognosis in at least one study in breast cancer patients. And though the data is conflicting and not clear right now, scientists agree that vitamin D deficiency should be corrected for a number of health reasons.
For more information about breast cancer awareness and what you can do to participate, check out the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website.
Oncologist 2011; 16(9): 1215–1227.