Since 1991, the pink ribbon has stood for the universal symbol for breast cancer awareness, thanks to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The pink ribbon is the well-known symbol adopted by many organizations including the National Football League to help promote awareness for breast cancer.
It’s October again, so you know what that means, hundreds, if not thousands of products are branded pink with a promise of a small portion of the total cost being donated to support breast cancer research.
I’d like to do my part, sharing, with the help of the American Cancer Society, five lifestyle changes that will reduce your breast cancer risk.
1. Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk. The extra pounds is especially true after menopause and for women who gain weight as adults. After menopause, most of your estrogen comes from fat tissue. Having more fat tissue can increase your chance of getting breast cancer by raising estrogen levels. Also, women who are overweight tend to have higher levels of insulin.
2. Exercise regularly. Many studies found that exercise is a breast-healthy habit. The difference in risk between the most active and the least active women is typically around 25%. In one study from the Women’s Health Initiative, as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of brisk walking reduced a women’s risk by 18%. Walking 10 hours a week reduced the risk a bit more.
3. Limit time spent sitting. The evidence is growing that sitting time, no matter how much exercise you get when you aren’t sitting, increases the likelihood of developing cancer, particularly for women. In an American Cancer Society study, women who spent 6 hours or more a day sitting outside of work had a 10% greater risk of invasive breast cancer compared to women who sat less than 3 hours a day, and an increased risk for other cancer types as well.
4. Limit alcohol. Research has shown that women who have 2 to 5 alcoholic drinks daily have a higher risk of breast cancer that women who drink only one drink or not at all. Studies found evidence that links even lower levels of drinking alcohol to an increased breast cancer risk. As little as 3 to 6 glasses of wine are shown to increase breast cancer risk slightly.
5. Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was used more often in the past to help control night sweats, hot flashes, and other troublesome symptoms of menopause. But researchers now know postmenopausal women who take a combination of estrogen and progestin may be more likely to develop breast cancer. Breast cancer risk appears to return within five years after stopping the combination of hormones.
Oh, and another helpful hint is to stop smoking?
The statistics are still staggering for breast cancer. I found the perfect info-graph from RexHealth.com on Pinterest:
But there are certain risks you can not control like genetic factors like gender, age, race, or a family history of breast cancer. But the lifestyle risks mentioned above can be monitored and should be adopted.
Thanks to the American Cancer Society and dramatic improvements in cancer research, treatment, and early detection, millions of women are surviving breast cancer today. But there is still work to be done to eradicate this cancer 100%.
Please allow the pink ribbon to serve as a reminder to prompt you, your mother, your sister, and other women in your life to get the annual mammogram. Early detection is crucial. Because of Obamacare, the mammogram procedure is covered by most health insurance plans.
My state, Pennsylvania, is first in the nation to require insurance companies to cover 3D screening mammograms at no additional cost to patients. The 3D screening provides better detection and fewer false alarms.
Have you had your annual mammogram this year?
Have a fabulous, stylish and healthy week. Don’t forget to schedule your mammogram?