Information sourced from cdc.gov
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; however, it is important to be aware and mindful about potential risk of breast cancer throughout the year. Here are steps you can take to educate yourself about your personal level of risk, and how you can proceed with preventative measures all year long.
Determine your personal risk rate.
Talk to your family members and doctor to determine your personal risk factors. These factors will vary – some could be things you may be able to control, like your weight, alcohol intake, or certain medications you use. Others may be things out of your control, like family history and genes, breast density, or your age. Those beyond your control are not meant to cause stress or fear, and it is beneficial to identify them early, therefore giving you more control. While it can be scary, knowledge is powerful here, and the more you educate yourself on your situation, the better tools you have to proceed with the next step: creating a personal prevention plan.
Once you have determined your risk rate, create a plan for incorporating preventative measures into your lifestyle.
Make a list of measurable actions you take, then work on slowly incorporating them into your routine. Some examples of measurable preventative actions include:
- Aim to move your body for 30 minutes each day.
- Aim to check your body once per month – whether it be a self-exam or simply feeling for any changes that may be abnormal.
- Keep track of your alcohol intake and consider cutting down or eliminating consumption depending on your level of risk. (Tip: try swapping some or all your alcoholic drinks with our RD approved mocktails.)
- Check the ingredients in your personal care products, and if they are not of clean quality, aim to replace one product per month with a nontoxic alternative. Find our recommendations in our HER Beauty guide by Jolene Hart.
Repeat – putting your health and wellness first.
Please remember that while creating and following a prevention plan can lower your risk of breast cancer and may not eliminate it. Your risk factors may change over time, so be sure to continue having these conversations with your doctor and yourself periodically to stay on top of your health, and adjust your plan as needed.
Keep in mind that moderation can be key. Every person and body is different, which is why it is so important for you to choose your own plan. We at Unite for HER know that one size does not fit all <3
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed, there is nothing you or they have done to cause it. You can explore our website to learn more ways to take care of your body, mind, and overall wellness, not only for prevention, but through treatment and beyond.