Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every woman is at risk. Breast cancer doesn't care if you are old, young, wealthy, poor, educated or uneducated, etc. It can't be prevented or cured. One out of eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer. This is a good time to reflect on screening, risk factors and what you can do to make a difference with your own health.
Risk Factors:
*A family member with the disease raises your risk.

*You're still at risk even if you don't have a family history of breast cancer.

*Getting older raises your risk for developing the disease. More than 75% of breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.

*Being overweight increases your risk.

*Getting a mammogram annually starting at age 40 is the best way to catch the disease in its earliest, most treatable stage. Women who get regular mammograms reduce their chance of breast cancer by 63%.

*Self-exams. Women should check their own breasts so they can know what's normal for them and then they will be able to tell if something changes. They can then contact the appropriate caregiver for evaluation.
Take Charge of Your Own Health

*Exercise. Women who exercise regularly throughout their lives lower their risk.

*Watch the scale. Women who gained more than 20 pounds after menopause were more likely to develop breast cancer. Those who lost 20 pounds or more cut their risk by 57%.

*Get regular mammograms and do regular self-exams.

*Limit the alcohol. Cap it at three drinks a week.

*Eat better: Think high-fiber and low-fat; veggies and vitamins; and lean meat and other sources of protein. Eating 3 or more servings of red meat a week has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

*Know the risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT): For every 10,000 women taking HRT (yes, even the bio-identical kind), eight preventable breast cancers occur. Understand your personal risks versus benefits before popping that pill.

Some fun pink products that promote awareness are on the market. Dove chocolate "Promises of Hope"candy is wrapped in pink foil. Chinet Casuals are pink paper plates. Breast cancer survivors designed boxes of Celestial Seasonings Cranberry Pomegranate Green Tea. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Candle is available at Pier One stores.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month started out as a weeklong event in October 1985. It has grown into a monthlong chance to remember those who have died from breast cancer and to honor those who have survived. Pass this info on to the women in your life. You can help make a difference!
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