About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point during their life. While the treatment of breast cancer is a long and arduous process, taking simple steps to prevent the disease is easy.
According to Cancer.org, there are plenty of ways to reduce your risk and stay healthy! In the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, try some os these simple lifestyle changes that will work to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Having an unhealthy weight can lead to several types of cancer, but according to cruk.org, breast cancer is the most strongly linked to weight gain.
Being overweight or obese increases your chances of developing breast cancer, especially after menopause. Make it a goal to shed some extra pounds and get down to healthy weight.
Many studies have proven that regular exercise can do wonders to prevent cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
Cut down your cocktails. Women who have 2 or more alcoholic drinks a day have about 1½ times the risk of breast cancer compared to women who don’t drink at all. The American Cancer Society’s recommends having no more than 1 drink per day.
Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are used to control symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes, and other symptoms but it can actually increase your breast cancer risk.
We all know smoking is a health risk but it can also increase your risk for breast cancer, especially if you are premenopausal. Smoking can also make treatment of breast cancer problematic, as it adds unnecessary damage to lungs undergoing radiation therapy. It can also complicate the healing process after a patient undergoes surgery.
Some other quick tips: take vitamins rich with folic acid, avoid unnecessary X-rays, get regular get breast exams and mammograms plus learn how to give yourself breast exams at home.
Going through breast cancer treatment is a hard process. If someone close to you is going through the healing process, you may be wondering how you can help your them through this tough time.
Whether they were just diagnosed or are in the middle of treatment, there are ways you can show your support and show them that they aren't alone.
You might not be able to control your family's history of breast cancer, but there are ways to prevent cancer or help during your cancer treatment depending on what food you put in your body. But be careful, some foods can actual harm more than they help.
Mushrooms: While a fungus, mushrooms are actually really good for you, especially if you are going through chemotherapy and they can help support your immune system.
Seeds: Flax seeds and pumpkin seeds can actually help ward off breast cancer. They contain lignans, which deter the production of estrogen and seeds may even stop the spread of breast cancer.
Vitamin D: Enjoy a class of milk because vitamin D can actually halt the growth of cancer cells. Salmon and mushrooms are also rich in vitamin D.
Green Veggies: Every breast cancer patient should fill up on green veggies such as broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens. They contain indole-3 carbinol, which has been found to keep cancer cells from traveling to other parts of the body.
Colorful Fruits and Veggies: Enjoy colorful fruits and veggies such as yams, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and citrus.
Soy: Soy has been under scrutiny saying that breast cancer patients should not eat it while other studies suggest that eating soy lowers the chance of breast cancer recurrence.
Some Fats: Don’t go too crazy with eating fats but healthy fats from walnuts, olive oil, and avocados are okay to enjoy.
Sauerkraut: Eaten in moderation, sauerkraut actually feeds on bacteria in the gut and strengthens the immune system.
Red Meat: You don’t have to totally give up red meat but if you grill your meat, it creates compounds called heterocyclic amines, which drives cancers.
Grapefruit: While delicious, grapefruits can elevate estrogen in the body and can actually increase your chances in developing breast cancer, studies say. Switch to a different citrus fruit.
Vegetable Oil: Go easy on soybean, sunflower and corn oil. They are high in polyunsaturated fats, which increase cancer-promoting oxidation in the body.
Founding member and cancer survivor of My Hope Chest Alisa Savoretti shares her thoughts on how cancer has changed her view of life. My Hope Chest is making a difference for under and uninsured breast cancer survivors by providing reconstruction. In fact, 4 women are scheduled to receive reconstructive surgery this fall.
Tens of thousands of women receive life-saving mastectomies each year, but can’t afford breast reconstruction to make them feel whole again. An estimated 22,000 women don’t have the insurance for reconstruction annually. My Hope Chest is the only national non-profit that’s providing reconstructive surgery for survivors.
Name: Alisa Savoretti
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
"I am a 12 year survivor and living in Florida with my family. I consider myself a serial entrepreneur having had the blessing to work in many fields which suits my Gemini nature. I love My Hope Chest's mission to heal survivors completely. It has become my life's work."
Womensforum: What did you learn about yourself when you found out you had cancer?
I learned I have my mother and father's strength. I took each step in stride and never thought for a moment I would not survive - I still had work to do! I realized that for me, cancer was a chapter in the book of life. I don't let it define my life nor probably would ever talk about this part of my past if it wasn't my job.
WF: What does the future hold for you?
I am slowly working on a Broadway bound musical, back to my dancing roots. Another goal: I wish to return to my business project of retro furniture that I was working on at the time I was diagnosed (once My Hope Chest is financially sustained).
WF: What advice do you have for someone who has been recently diagnosed with cancer.
Be strong of mind and spirit. Take each day at a time and evaluate your life to make it what you wish after this journey. Always be optimistic and cancer will be behind you before you know it. Again, it's just a chapter in your book - not your life.
40%of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so The National Breast Cancer Foundation advises women to give themselves breast exams at least once a month.
Self-examining your breasts allows women to become familiar with the look and feel of their breasts so they can detect abnormal changes sooner. If you do notice anything abnormal, call your doctor.
Take a look at how to give yourself a breast exam at home with the steps below or check out the infographic from clevelandclinic.org!