In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in response to the recent passing of a dear friend of hers to breast cancer, my wonderful mother sent over some great tips for all our female readers (but don’t think males don’t need to know this stuff, too!).
Here in Nevada, breast cancer is the second leading killer of women over 40 – so the more we can be aware of this danger, the better off we all are, no matter what age you are.
1. Cheap Mammograms for the Uninsured!
For October only, three local hospitals (Summerlin, Centennial, and Spring Mountain) are offering $55 mammograms for women with no insurance or whose insurance won’t cover it. There’s no excuse not to get checked up!
You won’t see this advertised much because, as you can imagine, their office is getting full! We’re closing in on the last week of October, so call them today before it’s too late at 702-369-7719. YOUR mom will be glad you did!
2. Watch That Weight!
Being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk, particularly after menopause and in women who have gained weight in adulthood. Excess estrogen can be a big factor in the development of breast cancer cells, and the biggest source of estrogen in postmenopausal women is, surprisingly, fat tissue.
If you’re one of those women lucky enough to be at a healthy weight post-menopause (or even approaching it), do whatever you have to to keep it up (or down?!). Been looking for a better excuse to shed those extra pounds than getting to go shopping for smaller jeans? What could be a better reason than decreasing breast cancer risk?
To help get you started, aim to lose 5-10% of your current weight over 6 months – just half a pound a week. You can do it!
3. Exercise Regularly
Studies show exercise is a breast-healthy habit. Even committing to just one to three hours of brisk walking over an entire week on a consistent basis can lower your risk.
The American Cancer Society recommends we get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly. But why choose? Do a little of both to mix things up, and remember you can spread it out over the week to make it fit your schedule.
4. Limit Alcohol Intake
Sorry ladies, but daily wine-fests may be over.
Studies show that women who drink two or more times a day are about 1.5 times more at-risk for breast cancer than women who don’t drink at all. That’s a HUGE difference.
Don’t worry, the American Cancer Society doesn’t call for you to abstain completely. They recommend no more than one drink a day (remember this is an average, so skipping a few days and then having a couple after won’t hurt). A “drink” is considered to be 12 oz of beer, 5 of wine, or 1.5 oz of hard liquor. Watch your quantities!
5. Be Careful with Hormone Replacement Therapy
This can be a big one for women going through the ringer with menopausal symptoms. HRT has long been used to treat any number of menopausal ailments, but a 2002 study shows that women taking a combination of estrogen and progestin post-menopause are more likely to contract breast cancer. Already on these? Women who get off HRTs show a return to normal breast cancer risk after about 5 years. So act now if you’re looking to limit your risk.
If you’re not willing to give up HRTs, be sure to discuss your options with your doctor, and take the lowest dosage possible to limit the effects.
6. Keep Getting Checked!
The ACA recommends women over 40 get mammograms and breast exams yearly. They know what they’re talking about! Don’t put it off!
I’d like to avoid bearing my breasts for any reason but attention, so I think limiting risk through education is incredibly important. If you need to be scared into paying more attention, be sure to see this Guardian post and keep your breasts safe!