Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With more and more research comes discoveries in the areas of prevention and early detection. There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, but there are things students can do to help reduce the risk and increase the odds that if cancer does occur, it will be found at an early, more treatable stage.
Here are some of the latest tips for prevention and early-detection:
- Limit alcohol use. Drinking alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Excessive alcohol consumption is also known to increase the risk of developing several other cancers.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that women and men with lower body fat percentages have a lower risk of breast cancer. Also, people who are overweight tend to have higher blood insulin levels. Higher insulin levels have also been linked to some cancers, including breast cancer.
- Increase physical activity. Evidence is growing that physical activity in the form of exercise reduces breast cancer risk. The main question is how much exercise is needed. In one study, as little as two hours per week of brisk walking reduced risk by over 18 percent.
- Improve diet. Research shows that a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products has also been linked with a lower risk of breast cancer.
- Perform self-exams. Students should check for dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin and make note of any redness, soreness, rashes or swelling that isn’t typical for their bodies.
- Get regular breast cancer screenings. Students should talk to their doctor about family history and genetics, and those with a family history of breast cancer should get annual physicals to detect the disease early.