We hear so many stories of women and men who are fighting or have survived breast cancer, we hear stories of rare cases of the disease, people beating unbelievable odds, and sadly people who lose the battle. Out of the hundreds and thousands of stories we hear, they all have one thing in common - they already have the disease. The fight against breast cancer aims to improve treatments, increase cases of early detection, and ultimately find a cure and its long-term goal is to create a world without breast cancer. You can help by taking control of your body and your health and make this world breast cancer free one person at a time.
Start by knowing your breast cancer risk factors. There are some you can't change. Gender plays a huge role as women are 100% more likely to develop breast cancer than men. As we grow older, our risk also increases. Family history and genetics are tough to beat, too. They are responsible for between 5% and 15% of all breast cancer cases. But approximately 85% of breast cancer cases have no family history of the disease. These inherited traits aren't the only things that factor into someone developing breast cancer. There are a lot of risk factors you can control.
- Weight - Being obese increases your breast cancer risk especially after menopause. Childhood obesity and long-term excess weight further increase your risk.
- Exercise - 1.5 to 2.5 hours of brisk walking per week reduces your breast cancer risk by 18%. 10 hours of exercise per week further lowers your risk.
- Alcohol Consumption - Consuming more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your breast cancer risk by 50% compared to women who have 1 drink or less per day.
- Breast Feeding - Breast Feeding and Pregnancy reduce your breast cancer risk possibly because they reduce the number of menstrual cycles a woman will have in her lifetime, limiting the amount of estrogen the body will produce over time.
- Prescription Drugs - Oral Contraceptives and certain Hormone Replacement Therapy medications can increase your breast cancer risk by introducing additional estrogen into your body. Consult with a doctor and know the benefits and the risks of your medication
These lifestyle choices, and more, are things that you can change at any point. Start 2011 by taking charge of your body and your health. The American Cancer Society can help! Their new program Choose You supports you in achieving your healthy lifestyle goals by offering strategies and a reporting system to track your progress. By focusing on healthy eating, weight loss, exercise and other health goals, you can decrease your cancer risk factors and your risk factors for other health complications. The Choose You program offers these tips to stay on track and achieve your goal:
- Make Your Goal Specific
- Avoid Temptation
- Focus on the Immediate Benefits
- Make a Choose You Commitment.
According to the American Cancer Society, about half of all cancer deaths could be prevented if people maintained a healthy weight through diet and regular exercise; avoided tobacco products; and got recommended cancer screening tests. One of the biggest contributions you can make to the fight against breast cancer is by making your body cancer free. Whether you do your own fitness regimen, consult a nutritionist or use the Choose You program, know that every step you make towards a healthier you is the right step. Start now and be a part of the fight against breast cancer in a whole new way.
Please post a comment and tell us what you're doing to stay cancer free.