Breast health, like all health, is about wellness. It’s about making healthy life decisions and maintaining good health rather than neglecting your body and hoping that the doctor can give you a quick fix when something goes wrong. Improving your breast health is a matter of making healthy life choices and working towards wellness. So here are 5 things that you can start doing to improve your breast health now.
Get plenty of exercise.
Regular physical activity is important to your breast health as well as your overall health. You should get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every single day. Research has shown that women who get regular exercise are 25% less likely to develop breast cancer than inactive women. Increased levels of physical activity have been shown to improve immune function, help manage weight, regulate estrogen and insulin levels, all of which contribute to breast health.
Eat a healthy diet.
Your diet has a significant effect on your breast health. The type – and the amount – of food that you need depends on age, activity level, and a number of other factors. While exact dietary needs will vary from person to person, a healthy diet typically consists of:
- Whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy
- Protein from beans, eggs, nuts and lean meats like fish or poultry.
Steer clear of foods that are high in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.
Know your risk of breast cancer.
1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. Of course, some women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than others. Understanding your own risk of developing breast cancer can help you take the appropriate steps needed in order to stay healthy. For example, women who have a family history of breast cancer at at a higher risk, and women with a first-degree relative with breast cancer are twice as likely to develop breast cancer themselves. Things such as age, body weight, exposure to radiation, and menstrual and reproductive history also factor into , etc. Women at a higher risk of breast cancer should consider additional screenings like MRI or screening ultrasound.
If you would like to know more about your personal risk and recommended screening, consider a breast risk assessment with a nurse at The Breast Center.
Breast cancer screenings
Regular breast cancer screenings – whether that is checking for lumps in the shower or going in for a mammogram – are invaluable to a woman’s health. Detecting breast cancer in its early stages is the best way increase your chances of beating it. There are three main tests used for screening: mammogram, clinical breast exam, breast self-exam. All three are important for women with average risk for breast cancer. Talk to your doctor to find out if you are considered at high risk and should have additional tests. The Breast Center recommends annual mammograms for women beginning at age 40.
Regular visits with your primary care doctor
Your primary care physician is your guide to healthy living and wellness. Your doctor can help answer any questions you may have about breast health, and can refer you to a specialist if need be.