This content is sponsored by Adventist HealthCare
Staying “healthy,” often requires lifestyle changes, dedication and knowing your body. For women, maintaining your breast health will reduce your risk of breast cancer and help to improve your overall health. Cynthia Plate, MD, breast specialist with Adventist HealthCare, has four tips to help your breast health.
- Eat well and exercise. “What you eat can have a surprising impact on your overall breast health,” says Dr. Plate. “Sticking to natural foods—foods with natural ingredients that are not overly processed—is a great place to start.” On top of eating well, staying active and adding exercise to your daily regimen is extremely important for both your breast health and your overall health. “Try and get 30 minutes of vigorous exercise in every day, or, an hour of moderate activity,” says Dr. Plate.
- Conduct self-examinations. “Self-exams can be a critical first step in detecting any abnormalities within the breasts,” says. Dr. Plate. “Women should perform a self-exam at least once a month to keep track of any changes.” According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, self-exams can be conducted in the shower, in front of a mirror, or lying down. Using your fingertips, check for bumps, lumps, skin dimpling (texture of an orange peel), discharge, and any other abnormality.
- Watch for lumps. It’s important to know and understand what you’re feeling during a self-exam. Normal parts of your anatomy, like milk lobes and lymph nodes, feel like soft peas or beans. Lumps, however, often feel hard, like a lemon seed.
- Get your mammogram. “Mammograms are the most accurate form of diagnostic testing available when it comes to detecting breast cancer,” says. Dr. Plate. “All women, no matter your risk, should begin getting yearly mammograms at age 40. Women with certain risk factors should talk with their doctor to discuss earlier or other screening options.”
You may be at a higher risk for breast cancer if you have any of the following:
- BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations
- A personal diagnosis of breast cancer before age 50
- One or more first-degree relatives with premenopausal breast cancer
- History of chest radiation before age 30
- History of an abnormal breast biopsy
- Ashkenazi Jewish or African descent
- Extremely dense breasts, diagnosed through a mammogram screening
For more information, take Adventist HealthCare’s easy and fast breast cancer risk assessment at YourBreastHealth.com.