7 Things To Do To Maintain Your Breast Health
Healthy breasts are an important part of a woman’s overall health. It’s said that five to 10 percent of breast cancers are hereditary. However, there are simple steps you can take to boost your own breast health. After all, knowledge is power. The more knowledgeable you are about your breasts, the more proactively you can manage your breast health.
Here are seven things you can do to help maintain healthy breasts:
1. Perform breast self-exams every month.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) suggests women of all ages perform breast self-exams once per month.
Regularly examining your breasts at home helps you become more aware of your breasts. When you are familiar with how your breasts normally feel, you can more easily detect when something feels abnormal.
2. Start getting annual breast exams at 25 years-old.
It’s suggested that women who are at average-risk for breast cancer receive an annual clinical breast exam (CBE) starting at 25 years-old. The CBE should be performed by a trained medical professional. It’s a good idea to combine annual CBEs with at-home breast exams for maximum proactivity.
3. Start getting mammograms at 45 years-old.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests women at average risk begin getting a mammogram annually at 45 years-old. At 55 years-old, women may choose to continue with an annual mammogram or transition to having a mammogram every two years.
4. Exercise regularly.
Exercise offers numerous health benefits, including healthy breasts. Breastcancer.org reports that women who are overweight with a BMI (body mass index) of over 25 are at higher risk for being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The high risk is due to fat cells making estrogen. Extra fat cells lead to more estrogen, and estrogen can cause hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers to develop. So, regular exercise can help burn fat, reducing excess estrogen in the body.
5. Eat a healthy diet.
We all know that eating a healthy diet makes us medically healthier. But, there are some foods that are suggested to maintain healthy breasts.
Foods rich in fiber (like whole grains or beans), low-fat dairy, soybean-based products, foods high in vitamin D, foods with anti-inflammatory and fruits and veggies rich in flavonoids and carotenoids are suggested by Medical News Today for good breast health.
6. Limit alcohol consumption.
Breastcancer.org reports that “research consistently shows that drinking alcoholic beverages – beer, wine, and liquor – increases a woman’s risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.” This is because alcohol increases estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
7. Know your family’s cancer history.
Understanding your family’s cancer history is an integral part of proactive breast health. According to Breastcancer.org, women have an increased risk of breast cancer if a close relative has been diagnosed.
Your risk of breast cancer doubles if a first-degree female relative (sister, mother or daughter) is diagnosed. Your risk is five times higher than the average woman’s risk if two first-degree relatives are diagnosed. It’s important to know the cancer history on both sides of your family and to discuss that information with your doctor.
Many items on this list are generally recommended for an overall healthy lifestyle. However, knowing they can also help you maintain healthy breasts is in encouraging. With simple lifestyle changes and regular healthcare screenings, you could prevent or catch breast cancer early on.