As we head into October and watch the fall colors starting to pop, you may also notice that along with the red, orange and yellow hues, there’s some pink mixed in! That’s because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the pink ribbons serve as a reminder of its importance. Founded in 1985, this month was created to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.
For women in the U.S., breast cancer rates are higher than any other cancer (excluding lung cancer). Did you know that 30% of diagnosed cancer in women is breast cancer? This means that approximately 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime.
Now is the perfect time to start making changes that will help lower your risk of developing breast cancer, or to encourage the women in your life to do so. Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a few tips to help you out:
- Get a mammogram. It’s been proven that, with early detection, the five year survival rate for breast cancer is 98%. We offer women’s health screenings and mobile mammography units across the country, making it easy for busy women to fit in a screening. Note: It is recommended that women over the age of 50 receive a mammogram every two years. If you are under the age of 50, consult with a doctor about when you should start and how often to have a mammogram.
- Eat healthy. Though eating healthy does not directly affect your chances of developing breast cancer, it does affect your weight, which can increase your risk of breast cancer. Make sure to eat three meals a day that are balanced and full of nutrients.
- Limit alcohol intake. Women who drink 2 or more alcoholic drinks a day have about 1.5 times the risk of breast cancer compared to women who don’t drink at all. This doesn’t mean giving it up completely, but it is wise to limit alcohol intake to 1 drink a day.
- Stay active. Studies have shown that 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can help reduce the risks of developing breast cancer. However, don’t do it all at once, spread it out over multiple days.
- Join the cause. Each year, there are countless events around the country that help increase awareness and raise funds to help fight breast cancer. Find a local event to participate in or donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at http://www.bcrfcure.org/.
For more information, talk to a physician at your local Doctors Express urgent care center. They’re there to help answer your questions about breast cancer and guide you toward the steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing a tumor.
To learn more about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit their website at http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month.