The risk of breast cancer increases as women grow older. Men are also susceptible to breast cancer, so all adults should be proactive. Although incidences of breast cancer are lower in East Asia than in other regions, the rate of breast cancer incidence in East Asia is rising rapidly. The key to fighting breast cancer is prevention and early detection. Here are 8 tips you should know on how to detect and prevent breast cancer.
1. Know Your Family History, Even Your Father’s
You may be at a higher risk of breast cancer if you have family members who have developed breast, ovarian or prostate cancer especially at an early age. People with one immediate family member diagnosed with breast cancer are twice as likely to develop breast cancer themselves. Men and women with a common family history of cancer may want to consider genetic counseling. Talk to your doctor or genetic counselor.
2. Watch Your Weight and Give Your Body the Nutrients It Needs
Maintaining a healthy weight and nourishing your body with fruits and vegetables can help lower the risk of breast cancer. We at AFCR have a post highlighting five steps to maintain a healthy weight. We also have a post with 7 Simple Strategies to Boost Your Health.
3. Stay Active
Studies have conclusively shown that exercise can help reduce your breast cancer risk and even help breast cancer survivors live longer. Get out there and dance, run, bike or walk. Exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes every day.
4. Avoid Smoking
If you’re a smoker, quit! Smoking not only causes many different cancers, including breast cancer. It can also damage nearly every organ in your body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, eyes, skin and bones. Avoid second hand smoke whenever possible- it can be just as damaging.
5. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Women should limit their alcohol intake to less than 3 drinks per week. New studies suggest that women who drink 3 to 6 drinks per week of any type of alcohol have a 15% increase in their risk of breast cancer. Men can have high estrogen levels because of being heavy users of alcohol, which can limit the liver’s ability to regulate blood estrogen levels.
6. Avoid or Limit Hormone Replacement Therapy
Research has shown that menopausal women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be more likely to develop breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about different options to manage the side effects of menopause, and the risks and benefits of each.
7. Do a Self-Exam Every Month
Women 20 years and older should be proactive about detecting breast cancer. There are multiple ways to self-exam. If you notice any changes, swelling, discoloration, or painful spots, contact your doctor for an examination. Some changes may not be cancerous, but early detection is key to treating breast cancer effectively.
8. Schedule an Annual Exam with Your Doctor
Annual mammograms can help find breast cancer at the earliest stages, when it’s most treatable. Please consult your physician for a specific screening schedule tailored to your risk profile. Cancer research breakthroughs are constantly introducing new tools in the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer. Support cancer research. With your donation, we are able to sustain our efforts to find a cure for breast cancer- and all cancers.
AFCR-Funding Breast Cancer Research
AFCR researcher Professor Ava Kwong and her expert team at The University of Hong Kong are determining how common are specific cancer-causing genes in high-risk patients from Hong Kong and Mainland with hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. With the expected increase in breast cancer of 18% from 2012 to 2020, the knowledge of genes including BRCA1 and 2 and other genomic factors that may be associated with risk to develop these cancers will help guide doctors and public policy to provide genetic counseling and prevention, detection and treatment strategies for high risk individuals and family members. Click here to learn more.