It’s never too early to start making healthy choices to increase long term health. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in light of that, here are some excellent tips and reminders for prevention, broken down by decade for you.
Your Breast Health in Your 20s
Did you know that approximately 70,000 men and women aged 15-39 are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, according to the Young Survival Coalition? Luckily, early detection dramatically increases positive outcomes. One of the easiest ways to monitor breast health is a monthly breast self-exam. If you’ve never done one before or aren’t sure you’re doing them correctly, here’s a link to instructions for doing a breast self-exam. If you still feel like you need additional guidance, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. They can guide you and let you know what you should be looking for. The better you can familiarize yourself with your body, the easier it is to detect changes, so don’t be shy. Also, if you’ve been remiss in having an annual well-woman exam once you became sexually active, now is the time to get started. Well-woman exams include Pap smear and pelvic exam as well as a breast exam.
Are Your Hormones In Check? They Could be Affecting Your Breast Health. Check Our Hormone Symptom Guide to See if Your Breast Health is Being Affected by Out of Balance Hormones
Care for Your Breasts in Your 30s
Childbearing years can increase the risk of breast cancer slightly, and since it’s become common for women to wait until their thirties to start having a family, it’s essential to keep on top of self-care. Breast cancer risk can increase for roughly ten years postpartum due to hormone shifts caused by pregnancy. The good news is that breastfeeding helps to decrease risk faster.
Breast Health in Your 40s and Beyond
Age increases cancer risk simply because normal hormone levels decline, leaving us more susceptible to tumor growth. Discuss screening with your doctor, depending on your medical history and personal risk factors; it may be time to think about thermography or mammogram. No matter what age you are, diet and lifestyle are significant factors in your long-term health. Staying away from processed and heavily packaged foods is a good way to decrease the introduction of outside estrogens from plastics and chemicals. Moderating caffeine intake can help decrease breast tissue density, and choosing clean meat sources also keeps chemical exposure to a minimum. Exercise helps increase lymphatic movement, which helps to cleanse the body of toxin buildup. And finally, eating clean, organic fruits, veggies, meats, and grains provides nutritional constituents that nourish and detoxify. This link to Hopkins Medicine contains a great break down of foods to eat for prevention.
No matter your age, you should be sure to stay on top of preventative care. Check out our article on Preventative Medicine and start calendering in those wellness exams!