May 22, 2019 by John Fernandez and Tanya Racoobian
Breast Health Tips and Myths
Breast cancer awareness is important, but how’s a woman to stay positive and proactive about her health?
One solution is to adopt healthy habits that decrease your risk. You are what you eat, so eat to live a long, healthy life. The American Cancer Society recommends consuming mostly vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Minimize red meat, processed meat, sweets and alcohol. Try to eat two and one-half cups of fruits or vegetables daily.
Avoid processed, refined foods. Get more of your protein from plant-based sources such as beans and nuts. If you smoke, quit! Need a nudge? Baptist Health offers free smoking cessation classes.
Another useful step is to debunk common myths to free yourself from needless worry.
Common Breast Cancer Myths
- You’re not at risk of breast cancer if it isn’t in your family.
- Your father’s family history of breast cancer doesn’t affect your risk as much as your mother’s.
- Men can’t get breast cancer.
- Lumps are the only sign of breast cancer.
- Small-breasted women are less likely to get breast cancer.
- You can’t get breast cancer after a mastectomy.
- Radiation from mammograms increases breast cancer risk.
- Needle biopsies can disturb cancer cells, causing them to spread throughout the body.
- Radical mastectomy gives you a better chance of beating breast cancer than a lumpectomy and radiation therapy.
- Women with lumpy breasts (fibrocystic breast changes) have a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Under wire bras increase your risk of breast cancer.
- Antiperspirants increase your risk of breast cancer.
- If you’re at high risk for breast cancer, there’s nothing you can do except watch for signs.
- If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you don’t have time to seek a second opinion.
Your lifestyle can fortify you against breast cancer and other diseases. So, get a move on! Start exercising regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least four hours of physical activity per week to reduce your cancer risk. Need more motivation?
Consider the link between obesity and breast cancer. Excess body weight may contribute to one out of five of all cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Institute. And excess fatty tissue equals excess estrogen, which increases the chance of breast cancer. If you haven’t exercised in a while, ask your doctor the best way to begin.
As you sweat and eat your way to better breast health, you’ll also reduce stress and look and feel better. That’s a definite win-win!