It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to honor the survivors. October is also the perfect month to think about what we can do to minimize the risk of developing breast cancer. Here are five tips for keeping your breast healthy.
Eat a healthy diet, but include a little dark chocolate: If you eat well, and exercise regularly, you will have fewer fat cells. We know that fat cells produce estrogen, and high levels of estrogen have been linked to certain cancers, including breast cancer. A diet low in refined sugars and processed foods, and high in fruits and vegetables will keep your weight and inflammation levels down, lowering your risk of breast cancer. Of course, a little dark chocolate might help too. According to Richard Pestell, M.D., director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University “studies have shown that a compound in dark chocolate may fight fast-growing cancers. The compound interacts with an enzyme, which causes cancerous cells to die but leaves normal cells alone.”
Exercise: 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week—21 minutes a day--can shrink the size of fat cells, so the body pumps out less estrogen. It also helps keep your weight under control and relieves stress.
Limit alcohol and don’t smoke: One drink a day usually isn’t a problem, but findings show that show women who drink three or more alcoholic beverages a day are 1.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer. Other studies have shown that the rate of breast cancer amongst women who smoked was around 30% higher than for those who had never smoked. So, that healthy lifestyle works for you in many ways.
Recognize what is normal for your breast: Everybody’s breast are different, and you should be aware of the normal look and feel of your breast. Do your breast self-exam when your breast aren’t swollen or tender, like they can be before or during your period. Although most breast changes do not signal breast cancer, if you see any of these changes it’s best to check with your doctor:
Celebrate the survivors of breast cancer: Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer diagnosed in women, right after skin cancer. We all have breast cancer survivors in our lives. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great time to celebrate these women and their success in beating breast cancer. Why not do something special for them like ordering a custom set of champagne flutes with their name, a pink “Breast Cancer Awareness” heart and the date they were declared cancer free? What a lovely reminder of that “pink letter day” in their lives. Another idea is a customized bottle of champagne featuring the pink heart and a message from you about how thrilled you are that they are now cancer free. Even after the champagne inside is gone, the bottle will be displayed in their home to remind the breast cancer survivor daily of your love. October is also a fantastic month to donate, in the breast cancer survivor’s name, to a charity that helps fund breast health services, like mammograms, for women who can’t afford them. And don’t forget to eat a little dark chocolate.
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