Three Things Women Should Know About Breast Cancer Prevention

As we become more aware of the risks associated with different kinds of cancers, including breast cancer, many women will question whether it is possible to prevent the disease. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk. Many of these steps involve lifestyle choices and, of course, connecting directly with your physician in order to determine if and when screenings should take place.

  1. Your overall health is closely tied to breast cancer prevention – How much alcohol you drink, your diet, weight and the amount of physical activity you perform day to day are all indicative of your overall health. High alcohol consumption, obesity and a lack of exercise are all linked to increased breast cancer risk. If you have questions about how to improve or even to simply assess your general health, talk to your physician about scheduling a physical and whether it is appropriate for you to meet with a nutritionist. Your physician will be able to advise next steps.

  2. There are some risk factors that cannot be helped – The following is a list of factors that we cannot help:
    • Gender – Men can also have breast cancer, but women are statistically more likely to suffer from the condition.
    • Family history – If your family history contains incidences of breast cancer, then you may have an increased risk for the disease. This risk increases with how close you are to a given family member who has had breast cancer, for example, mother/daughters/aunts/grandmothers.

  3. There are symptoms you can keep an eye on to potentially catch breast cancer early – The following is a list of breast cancer symptoms that women (and men) need to be aware of:
    • Painful breasts or nipples
    • Swollen breasts
    • A lump you can actually feel during a breast self-exam
    • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
    • Nipple discharge (not breast milk)
    • Redness on the breast or nipples
    • Any other changes to the feeling, texture or color of your breasts/nipples

Women may feel compelled to note any of the above issues as simply changes due to age, but it’s very important that you connect with your PWOG physician should you notice any of the above symptoms.

To learn more about breast cancer prevention, please visit National Cancer Institute.

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