Pink ribbons, t-shirts with catchy slogans and public service announcements are literally everywhere during the month of October. A globally concerted effort to reach millions of women encouraging them to “think pink” and “fight like a girl” is carefully orchestrated to promote early detection, screening and awareness of this terrible, but all too familiar disease, Breast Cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Studies show that people who maintain a healthy weight and remain physically active have a lower incidence of cancer in general and increased body weight and weight gain as an adult are linked to higher breast cancer rates after menopause. The benefit of having a healthy weight, living an active lifestyle and eating a nutrient rich diet go beyond cancer prevention. Diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions can be prevented or improved when these lifestyle practices are followed.
In life there is nothing as important as being your own advocate and when it comes to your health, you are an expert. Practicing self breast awareness and adhering to the screening recommendations is the easiest way for you to be in control. Most medical providers recommend that in their 20s women should learn the benefits of breast self-examination and in their 20s and 30s women should have a breast exam by a doctor every three years. At the age of 40 women should have an annual exam by her physician and they should talk about having a screening mammogram. Keep in mind that mammograms may be recommended earlier if there is a strong family history of breast cancer or other risk factors.
So if you haven’t already done so this year, schedule time out for yourself this October. Knowing the facts and seeing your physician annually, scheduling a mammogram, squeezing in some exercise every day and doing your best to eat right and keep your weight in check are crucial keys to lowering your overall health risk.
For more information, contact the Thibodaux Regional Cancer Center at 985.493.4008.