Breast Cancer Prevention: Lifestyle Tips to Help Reduce Your Risk
When it comes to breast cancer prevention, there are many known and determined risk factors. Some risk factors you can’t change, such as your family history or genetics; however, there are changes you can make to minimize the chances and prevent breast cancer entirely. Many of these involve being more mindful of said risk factors and making lifestyle changes.
Leonisa wants women everywhere to be aware of how to take care of themselves and be smart and diligent about breast cancer prevention. That’s why we’ve offered an extensive list of breast cancer prevention tips and even everyday lifestyle tips for those who have been diagnosed. Plus, we help you learn how to check for lumps and when you need to begin yearly mammogram exams.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip
Quite often, breast cancer prevention goes hand in hand with a woman’s lifestyle. Many of the prevention tips below offer suggestions that can help minimize your risk, regardless of your genes or family history. From how many glasses of wine you indulge in each night to the foods you eat, here are some of the most critical breast cancer prevention tips you need to be aware of.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
A lifestyle change some women may need to make is to limit their alcohol consumption. The more you drink, the higher your chances are of developing breast cancer. Alcohol has profound effects on how a woman’s body metabolizes estrogen, causing them to rise. Instead, try to limit yourself to one drink a day.
If you smoke, it’s time to quit. Countless evidence suggests that there’s a link between smoking and numerous other diseases. Breast cancer is only one of them. Even heavy second-hand smoke can play a role in breast cancer risk, so if you have family members that light up, try to instill a new habit of doing so outside the home.
Get Regular Exercise
Find a physical activity that you enjoy and get regular exercise. Invest in some activewear and hit the gym or engage in some low-impact yoga. The American Cancer Society recommends 150 minutes (2½ hours) of physical activity a week. Lowering your risk of breast cancer doesn’t require intense workouts. Just walking 30 minutes each day can offer healthy prevention.
Maintain a Healthy Diet and Weight
It should be no surprise that a healthy diet is a key factor in breast cancer prevention and many other types of cancers, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Of course, a healthy diet can also lead to a healthy weight. And being obese or overweight can increase your risk of breast cancer as well.
Breastfeed Your Children
For women who choose to have children, breastfeeding can play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breastfeed your kids, the greater the protection.
Use a Low Dose Hormone Therapy
Women who use combination hormone therapy for over three years have a higher risk of breast cancer. For those taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, consult with your doctor to try and reduce the dosage. Some women can manage symptoms with non-hormonal therapies and medications.
Avoid Radiation Exposure
Certain medical imaging, like computerized tomography, uses high doses of radiation. More studies are needed, but the general consensus of current research links the amount of exposure to breast cancer. Over the course of your lifetime, avoid this exposure unless it’s imperative to do so.
Checking for Lumps and Routine Mammograms
In addition to the prevention tips listed above, women have one more critical step to take: checking for lumps and scheduling routine mammograms. A critical part of early detection, women should not only be seeing a gynecologist to have their breasts professionally examined, but should be doing their own breast self-exams at home.
At-Home Breast Self-Exams
Check for lumps or any skin changes on your breasts on a monthly basis. Each woman should schedule a self-exam around the same time every month, as your hormones can fluctuate and affect your breast tissue. However, if you are premenopausal, it helps to perform the exam at the end of a menstrual period. This will help you find some consistency so you know when you feel something like lumps, thickening, hard knots and anything else unusual.
Johns Hopkins University
recommends that women do this self-exam in three different ways and offers these guidelines:
- Shower: Using the pads of three middle fingers, go in circular motions around the breast and armpit area.
- Lying Down: Perform the exact same exam, but lying down.
- Mirror: Raise your arms above and look for changes in each breast’s shape. Take notice of swelling, dimpling of the skin or nipples changes. Next, rest your palms against your hips and flex your chest muscles, looking for the same.
You can also use Leonisa’s guide on a breast self-exam.
Start by placing your index and middle fingers in the center of your breast.
Move your fingers in a spiral until you reach the edge of the breast.
Start moving the two fingers vertically from your armpit down to your lower breast.
Continue this action and feel up to the top. Repeat this movement until you’ve felt your entire breast.
It’s important to get used to breast self-exams at home, and with time, you will really get to know the look and feel of your breasts. Keep in mind that many women's breasts are naturally slightly uneven, but if you find something suspicious, consult your doctor right away.
The American Cancer Society
(ACS) suggests that women may start annual breast cancer screenings with mammograms beginning as early as 40 years of age. This suggestion is specifically for women who have had a family history of breast cancer and need to monitor it closely. However, the ACS also suggests that women 45-54 should receive mammograms each year. Women 55 and older can choose to make the switch to every two years, as the chances of breast cancer decrease.
Living with Breast Cancer: How to Achieve Balance in Your Life
Are you living in balance?
Balance lives in everything you do with awareness, however small.
Balance already lives in you, if you decide to see it in everything you do, you don't have to do anything extraordinary to live in balance, just take your time and feel it.
What is our commitment?
We’re committed to your wellbeing and happiness. We’re committed to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Our commitment has been, and always will be, to women and everything you are.
Should you find out from your doctor that you have a lump or have been diagnosed with breast cancer, here are some additional lifestyle tips to keep up your spirits and stay positive. Living with breast cancer is a troubling and scary time, but with a little self-care and an upbeat attitude, many women with breast cancer have the needed strength they need to become survivors.
There’s a saying: “Laughter is truly the best medicine.” But it’s not just an old adage. There is scientific truth to the benefits of laughter. What laughter does to our brains is incredible. It releases natural, feel-good endorphins that offer a euphoria similar to opioids, but without the dependency. So, go watch a funny movie or invite your best friends over for a small get-together.
Give and Receive Hugs
Studies suggest that hugs do have healing power, much like laughter. Hugging your spouse or best friend or parent can reduce stress and boost your heart’s health, reducing blood pressure. They can also release what’s referred to as the “cuddle hormone,” the chemical oxytocin that is associated with happiness and less stress.
Donate and Volunteer
Donating and volunteering can offer a much-needed distraction from yourself, paying it forward and offering a deep sense of purpose. Volunteer at an animal shelter or at your local library. Besides donating time, you can also donate old clothes to a thrift shop.
Discover a New Hobby
Learn something new and find a new hobby to keep yourself occupied and pass time. It could even be something you were once passionate about but never pursued. Choose a new hobby that gets you out of the house and introduces you to new people, like a painting class or pottery class. If you’ve always wanted to write a book or autobiography, join a writing club. Regardless of what you choose to explore, there’s no better time than the present!
Treat Yourself and Get Dressed Up
Go on a date with your partner or spouse or plan a weekend getaway. Treat yourself to a manicure and a new hairstyle. Do anything that makes you feel good about yourself, even if it’s something as simple as slipping into a favorite dress and applying a sexy shade of lipstick. Wear shapewear underneath and show off your figure.
Accept Help from Family, Friends and Your Spouse
Don’t be proud! Know when to ask for help and when to also accept help. Let those around you assist with chores or bring meals on days you don’t feel 100 percent yourself. Let them show their love and support.
Get Some Fresh Air and Sunshine
Step outside once a day and get some fresh air and sunshine. Surrounding ourselves with nature can do our bodies so much good. Plus, the sun can offer some vitamin D, which can boost your immune system.
Breast cancer is no easy battle. If your body is tired, give it some rest and time to recover. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you and take a nap, even if it’s the middle of the day. Also, make sure to stick to a regular cycle and go to bed at the same time each evening.
A healthy diet is not just a way to prevent breast cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed, you need to continue eating just as nutritiously. This also means staying hydrated and taking the necessary vitamins to help your body fight the disease. Of course, remember to treat yourself every once in a while.
Take a Warm, Relaxing Bath
There’s not much a long and relaxing bath can’t soothe. For especially hard days, or just whenever you feel like it, run a warm bath, light a few scented candles and turn on some of your favorite music. It’s sure to melt some troubles away.
Read Breast Cancer Survivor Stories
Reading other women’s breast cancer survivor stories is like chicken soup for the soul. It offers hope knowing how others endured and survived this terrible disease, ultimately carrying on with their joyful lives. Read the stories of what others have been through and discover even more ways of coping that this list can provide.
Express Your Emotions
In tough times, you need to express your emotions and cope with them, not bottle them up. Whether you find a close friend or your partner, find someone you can trust who will lend a patient ear. Join a breast cancer support group to combine the nourishment of cancer survivor stories with the ability to speak openly and honestly about your own worries and experiences.
Designate Time to Worry
Worrying about your diagnosis may seem contradicting, especially after the above list of uplifting tips. But acceptance is an important part of the healing process, at least mentally. Hiding negative thoughts at the back of your mind is not healthy and it’s essential to address them before they potentially–one day–overflow as anger, frustration and even a feeling of helplessness. Address your fears and worries and then get back to enjoying life.
Mastectomy Recovery Clothing for Breast Cancer Survivors
When cancer spreads in a way that is untreatable, some women may need to undergo a mastectomy. Sadly, many women who do so come away from the procedure feeling not quite themselves. The good news is that, today, women have many options in mastectomy bras and mastectomy recovery clothing.
Leonisa’s mastectomy bras offer women a way to feel themselves again. Unlike a regular bra that may not provide enough coverage, our mastectomy bras offer pockets for an external prosthesis to help women achieve a more natural symmetry after breast tissue volume and size changes. Our mastectomy bras are also designed without underwire to avoid rubbing and hurting scars.
Leonisa Supports Strong Women
A significant number of women have detected signs of breast cancer while at home performing their monthly exams. So, it’s no exaggeration when we say that breast cancer prevention lies in your own hands. When you see a doctor or gynecologist once a year, it’s imperative to perform breast self-exams the other 11 months.
Take care of your health and get to know both your girls. The more you become familiar with their shape, size and markings, the better and easier it will be to detect signs of breast cancer.