In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I thought I would switch up my typical Fitness Friday and share some helpful information around breast cancer, ways to be screened and other considerations to help prevent your chances of getting cancer.
Knowing Your History. This can be the difference of someone being an average risk to a high risk of having cancer. Know your family history, whether it’s someone who has had invasive breast cancer or BRCA 1/2 gene mutation, especially if they’re a first relative. If you have a family history your breast cancer screenings can start as early as 26 vs. an average risk person starting at 40.
Make Healthy Choices. These may seem like a big DUH, but how we treat our body and what we put into our body can greatly affect how we run! All of these things that can prevent cancer may seem a bit obvious, avoiding use of tobacco, increased physical actively, working out regularly, sun protection, and healthy diet choices are among the few. Sometimes it seems like cancer will be unavoidable, but we can at least strive to make healthy decisions and actively avoid things we know are obvious cancer causers (tobacco – sun – etc.)
Check Your Body. Being aware of your body is important, whether it’s providing self exams to check your breasts for lumps or abnormalities or being aware of potential sun spots that may have not been there before. It’s important to know your body so you can listen to your body and know when something might be off. When in doubt, have it checked out my your physician.
Go to the Doctor. Maintaining your annual visits to your primary care physician and OBGYN can help mediate risks and also keep you on track for clinical breast exams – which should occur every three years starting at the age of 20, until it’s time to start receiving mammograms.
As a board member on a local organization that helps provide emergency financial assistance to women actively receiving breast cancer treatment who cannot afford life necessities – the risks of breast cancer are prevalent. With that comes heart wrenching stories of those who lost the fight (like a 38-year old mom of two, who died within a year of being diagnosed), although it also allows for a lot of inspiring stories of those who’ve beat it. Another sobering moment recently that hit home is my cousin who is my age going through preventative surgery as she has the BRCA gene mutation. It’s something we can easily forget about, unless we know someone directly affected – so it’s good to stay informed and aware!