The other day while I was in the salon getting my hair done, I came across some interesting information on combating breast cancer.
October is breast cancer awareness month and no matter how much I hear or read about this horrible disease, I am always surprised by the alarming statistics. Here’s just a few taken from Breastcancer.org,
- About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- In 2011, there were more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the US.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
The most alarming statistic to me is that 85% of breast cancers occur in women with no family history. I feel like I am always asked, “do you have a family history?” With none, I just assume that I’m on the safer side. However, I’m reminded of when I was early along in my pregnancy and genetic testing was being offered. I was overwhelmed with the decision and when discussing it with a nurse I mentioned that I had no history of any genetic disorders or disabilities in my family. What she said was frightening at the time but also very true, “a family history always has to start somewhere.” Since then I think I pay more attention to what measures I can take to reduce my risks of developing cancer.
The article I came across was published in the October issue of Glamour magazine. It listed four things backed by solid research that can help lower your risk of breast cancer. While we might be aware of these things, I thought it was a great reminder and wanted to share.
1. Exercise – About 5 hours of brisk walking a week is enough to lower your cancer risk by 25 to 30 percent. More won’t reduce your risk any more than that so you don’t have to worry about being an avid fitness buff. Just staying active will help more than not.
2. Maintaining a Healthy Weight – This lowers your odds by a 250%! That’s a huge percentage! If you’re overweight and able to lower your body fat by just 5% your going to cut your risk 25 to 50 percent.
3. Limit how much you drink – Limiting your alcoholic beverage consumption drops your risk by 24 to 50 percent. Studies show that you should have no more than one drink a day or 7 drinks a week. So if you drink 2 or 3 glasses of wine one night, limit your drinks for the next few days.
4. Giving birth before your midthirties and breastfeeding for at least 6 months after – Doing these two things will lower your risk by as much as 50 percent. Even if you’re not planning to have kids or breastfeeding wasn’t for you, focusing on the other three will still help to lower your chance of developing breast cancer 🙂
Even though most of these four things seem like a no brainer to me, they might not to someone else. Which is why it’s important for myself as well as others to spread the word about how to protect ourselves from this deadly disease. Informing a friend that those extra 3 drinks a week could raise her chances of developing breast cancer could be new information to her. Helping a relative that doesn’t exercise to start by becoming their walking buddy or support system, could lower their risk of developing cancer. As women, it’s our duty to not only try to protect ourselves from this horrible disease, but also our sisters, mothers, friends, etc. as well.
Whenever I can I try to participate in some sort of run where the proceeds go towards breast cancer. Next weekend I’ll be running in the Hot Pink Fun Run to support Breast Cancer awareness. I’m looking forward to helping out a good cause while having fun too! There’s still time to register so if anyone wants to join me sign up before October 19th 🙂 I’ll be doing the 10k but there’s also a 5k if you’re not feeling up to the longer run.