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How to Lessen Your Risk for Breast Cancer

Updated on November 18, 2015

You may be aware that one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. These are our friends, colleagues, mothers, sisters, daughters and aunties. In Hawaii, where I live, approximately 800 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. It is critical that women be empowered and educated about how to take charge of their own breast health.

Here are some very important things we as women must do to lower our risk of suffering from breast cancer:

  • Regularly do self-breast exams
  • Be aware of any family history of breast cancer
  • Consider your menstrual and reproductive history
  • Schedule annual mammograms
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Swear off cigarettes
  • Think "fresh" when it comes to food

If you are age 20 - 39, you should perform breast self-exams and look for signs of change. Schedule a clinical breast exam every three years.

If you are age 41 - 49, you should have a mammogram every one to two years based on previous findings.

Your overall risk of developing any type of cancer before you turn forty is only 1 in 48, according to the ACS. I personally knew a young mother of several young children who was diagnosed with breast cancer and within three months she was dead. It was very tragic for her husband and children. But that is very rare.

If you are fifty and older, you should have yearly mammograms.

Half of all women diagnosed with breast cancer are over age 65.

Regarding your menstrual and reproductive history, early menstruation or late menopause, having your first child at an older age, or taking birth control pills for more than ten years if you are under 35 increase your risk of breast cancer.

If your mother or sister had breast cancer, you are at greater risk.

Also, if you have dense breast tissue and past radiation therapy to the breast or chest area or a history of hormone treatments, you are also at higher risk.

We need a cure for the health of future generations, and for the ones you and I love. Eradicating breast cancer has never been more important.

Consider this a must do:

Breast self exams: Get to know your breasts so that you can tell if there are any changes in the breast tissue, such as changes in size, dimpling or puckering of the breast, a discharge from the nipple or a lump.

Before a mirror: Inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Then raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour of each breast including dimpling, swelling or changes in the nipples.

In the shower: With your fingers flat, move gently over every part of each breast. Use your right hand to examine the left breast and the left hand for the right breast. Check for any lumps, thickening or hard knot.

Lying down: Place a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm behind your head. With the fingers of the other hand flat, press your right breast gently in small motions, moving in a circular pattern covering the entire breast.

Heredity Mutations

Five to ten percent of breast cancers are found to be caused by hereditary mutations. Women who are carriers of these mutations are up to 28 times more likely to develop cancer. It is suggested that women with a strong personal or family history of cancer should meet with a genetic counselor. BRCA and BART testing can be performed to predict their odds.

Regarding Food

Studies have shown that eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in red and processed meats, reduces your risk for cancer. When you prepare a meal, think of meat as a side dish rather than the main entry. Drink and eat low fat dairy products.

If possible, opt for organic food. Non-organic meat and dairy products are often treated with hormones and antibiotics.

Some fruits and vegetables have been shown to have a higher amount of pesticides. This could be because of their permeable skin or perhaps it is easily absorbed through their root systems. These include:

  • apples
  • bell peppers
  • celery
  • cherries
  • collard greens
  • domestic blueberries
  • imported grapes
  • kale
  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • spinach
  • strawberries

Food items that have shown lower levels of pesticides, perhaps because of their thicker outer layer, include:

  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • cabbage
  • cantaloupe
  • eggplant
  • kiwifruit
  • mango
  • onion
  • pineapple
  • sweet corn
  • sweet potato
  • watermelon

In conclusion, every 69 seconds a woman dies of breast cancer somewhere in the world. It is the second leading killer of women worldwide. You can lessen your risk for breast cancer by consistently following the suggestions above. Don't be one of the staggering statistics. Take charge of your health.


Submit a Comment

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you found it useful Amanda. Thanks for commenting. Aloha!

  • Amanda Severn profile image

    Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

    Very good information here, Elayne. Thank you.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks so much Dr irum. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

  • Dr irum profile image

    Dr irum 7 years ago

    Excellent information for breast cancer awareness .

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    You are welcome bbpaula888. Glad you found it useful.

  • bbpaula888 profile image

    bbpaula888 7 years ago

    Thanks for this very informative hub.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks pmccray. I appreciate your comments. I watch Dr. Oz, too.

  • pmccray profile image

    pmccray 7 years ago from Utah

    Excellent informative hubs. i was shocked to see the fruits and veggies susceptible to absorbing pesticides. No one has glanced on this data not even Dr. Oz! Voted up, marked useful, awesome, bookmarked and shared.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Tana Suter - if would be great if you put a link also, but I guess someone can google it.

  • profile image

    Tana Suter 7 years ago

    And for those diagnosed and recovering, check out the Menopausal Warrior Queen's website.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    You are right wlittle. I knew another guy that I worked with who died from breast cancer. It is more rare, but not unheard of. Thanks for your comments.

  • wlittle profile image

    wlittle 7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    Although it is more prevalent in women, it can also happen to men. One of my best (male) friends had to have his breast removed due to cancer so us guys need to follow her advice too!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Why, thank you very much Sass99. I appreciate that.

    @saroj23 - Glad you think so. Made my day!

    Hi Hello - good to see you up and around again. I appreciate your kind comments (even repeated ones).

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    I can repeat saroj23's words. Thank you.

  • saroj23 profile image

    saroj23 7 years ago

    Very informative and helpful. It's an amazing hub.

  • Sass99 profile image

    Sass99 7 years ago from Worcestershire, UK

    Great hub, Elayne. Well done.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thank you LianaK. I appreciate your comments.

  • LianaK profile image

    LianaK 7 years ago

    Such important information! Thank you for sharing such a great hub.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thank you Uninvited Writer. I appreciate your comments.

    @Pamela99: I am so glad you think so, and I hope it helps many women.

    @Patty Inglish, MS: Thank you for you welcomed opinion.

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

    Good information that people can use. Rated up and shared.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Elayne, A very thorough hub with excellent information.

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Wonderful hub. Great advice.