One in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.
While that statistic is scary to think about, it’s important to spread awareness about just how common breast cancer is. We may not be able to outright prevent breast cancer, but we can take steps to decrease risk and make earlier diagnoses that can end up saving lives.
But what can you do to actually promote breast health throughout your life?
We’re here to tell you! Keep reading to learn 10 easy ways you can maintain breast health.
- Practice a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Everyone knows the importance of eating right in order to stay healthy. But did you know that a healthy diet can actually help decrease the likelihood of developing breast cancer?
A healthy and balanced diet means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Avoid or eliminate sugar and processed foods. Some diets that can promote these healthy dietary habits include the Meditteranean diet and the Paleo diet.
It’s also important to incorporate vitamins like Omega 3 fish oil into your diet.
Vitamin D, in particular, is important to promote breast health. If you aren’t getting enough sun, make sure you take a Vitamin D supplement each morning.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
In addition to specific types of foods being beneficial/harmful to people, it’s also important to note the link between obesity and breast cancer.
In the United States, over 70 percent of people are overweight or obese. This can lead to a number of health issues including heart disease and diabetes. But for women, it also increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
This is because having excess fat tissue raises estrogen and insulin levels, which has been linked to breast cancer.
- Stay Active
Staying active and exercising regularly is important to maintain your overall health, but it’s especially important for breast cancer survivors.
According to a recently published review, exercise was the number one way to reduce breast cancer recurrence and mortality rates. According to the review, exercise reduced recurrence and mortality by 40 percent.
Staying active means getting at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. This can come in the form of walking, running, playing sports, bike riding, or anything else that gets you up off the couch and moving.
- Limit Alcohol Consumption
Women who consume more than one alcoholic beverage each day are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Binge drinking was also associated with higher risks of developing breast cancer. This means even if you don’t drink during the week, but go out on weekends and drink several alcoholic beverages, you are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
By limiting alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per night and no binge drinking, you can promote positive breast health moving forward.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
In a recent observational study, it was found that those who rise early and go to sleep at a reasonable time each night are less likely to develop breast cancer than people who stay up late and get fewer hours of sleep.
It is recommended that you sleep 7-9 hours every night and that you wake up and go to sleep at around the same time every day.
- Practice Mindfulness and Other Stress-Relieving Activities
Studies have shown that women who have experienced traumatic, stressful events or perceived their lives to be stressful were more likely to develop breast cancer than those who are stress-free.
This shows the importance of reducing stress as much as you can in everyday life. But how can you do that when you have so much to worry about?
Many women have full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities that can easily cause stress. That’s why it’s important to practice mindfulness so you can better control your emotional response in stressful situations.
Mindfulness comes in many forms: meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, and more. It basically boils down to living and acting in the moment, and not worrying about what was or what will be.
- Perform Breast Self-Examinations Every Month
Even if you follow all of the above tips for maintaining healthy breasts, you still need to check for the development of lumps. Anyone, no matter how healthy they are, can be at risk for breast cancer.
That’s why self-examinations are so important. Women need to be doing them every month, 3-5 days after your period starts. During this time of your cycle, your breasts are not as tender or lumpy, so it’s easier to feel for unusual lumps.
If you have gone through menopause, you can do the exam on the same day every month. Set a reminder so you can easily remember to do it every month.
Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to do a breast self-examination.
- Breast Examinations and Mammograms
The only way to be confident about your breast health is by getting the necessary checkups and exams.
In your 20s and 30s, you should be getting a clinical breast examination every year to check for lumps, bumps, or other breast issues. Once you hit your forties, you should be getting a mammogram every three years.
A mammogram is an image produced by low-energy X-rays that enable your doctor to detect small masses or microcalcifications. Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early, which is why it’s so important for women to stay up-to-date with their checkups.
Promote Breast Health with These Top Tips!
Be utilizing these lifestyle tips, you can drastically decrease the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
Most importantly, make sure you keep up with monthly self-examinations, yearly clinical examinations, and mammograms so if you do develop breast cancer, you catch it in the early stages.
Are you due for a clinical breast exam or mammogram? Don’t put it off any longer!
We at PINK want to help you promote breast health to the best of our ability. We offer digital mammography, ultrasounds, breast biopsies, and more.
If you’re looking for a breast center that goes above and beyond to make the experience comfortable and stress-free, contact PINK today to schedule your appointment or to learn more about our services.