New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Health

Ways to Maintain Your Breast Health

Breast health is a critical aspect in life that both men and women should be aware of. Being aware is the first step in promoting breast health and knowing what’s normal for your breasts. For women, some concerns may include breast lumps, breast pain, and nipple discharge. It’s important for you to be able to identify what changes to expect while on your menstrual cycle and progressing through stages in life, such as a difference in sensitivity and texture, and what should be found alarming to your health. According to Women’s Health, there are “7 Ways to Keep Your Breasts Healthy.”

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight not only increases your chances of developing breast cancer but it also decreases the chances of beating the disease if diagnosed.

Exercise: Having a goal to get an aerobic workout in for at least 45 minutes five days a week decreases the likelihood of breast cancer by lowering insulin and estrogen levels, increasing ones immune system, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Consume Smaller Amounts of Alcohol: Research shows that consuming 2 drinks a day increases ones chances of breast cancer by 21 percent.

Eat Plenty of Vegetables: Vegetables contain sulforaphane that exhibits anti-cancer properties. Consuming vegetables high in sulforaphane such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage is a great way to supply your body with protection against the multiplication of cancer cells.

Be Aware of Your Family’s History with Breast Cancer: Knowing where breast cancer exists in your family tree can help one determine the likelihood of them becoming affected. There is a family history of breast cancer in approximately 15% of the cases seen. Having an immediate relative with breast cancer doubles your chances and one is five times more likely if they have two family members affected.

Get Screening and Diagnostic Tests Done Regularly: A clinical breast exam, a hands-on exam done by ones ob-gyn or family doctor, should be done at least every three years and annual exams and mammograms beginning at age 40. However, if you have a family history of breast cancer, screenings should be done 10 years prior to the age of the family member when he/she was diagnosed. Also, performing regular self-breast exams will allow you to become more familiar with your own body. Finding an unfamiliar lump allows you to seek treatment when necessary.

Consider Genetic Testing: If you are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent or have a family history of both breast and ovarian cancer then genetic testing is of high importance.

Survival rates are improving with all the new treatment we have. Just remember, breast health is important for both men and women. Controlling this cancer can be accomplished with simple lifestyle changes and awareness!