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Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Self Care

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a good reminder to keep up with breast health and self care. Though many of you may be familiar with this, a little refresher can’t hurt to remind us all.  Please be mindful that this can effect those who associate with male or female genders as well as those in transition between genders.

Want to learn more about breast health? Join Elayne October 24 for a postpartum breast health workshop. Click for more.

What are the Warning Signs for Breast Cancer?

  • –Constant pain in your breast or armpit
  • –Change in skin texture which could include thickening or dimpling
  • –Difference in shape or size of your breast
  • –Discharge or liquid coming from the nipple without squeezing
  • –The nipple becoming newly inverted (pulled in) or changing position or shape
  • –The lump or thickening that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue
  • –Rash or redness around the nipple on the skin
  • –Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
  • –Peeling, scaling, crusting, or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple or breast skin.

What Factors Increase Your Risk for Breast Cancer?

  • –Being female
  • –Increased age
  • –Personal history or breast conditions like lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), atypical hyperplasia of the breast
  • –Personal history of breast cancer— if you develop breast cancer in one breast, you have increased risk for developing cancer in the other breast.  
  • –Family history of breast cancer — however the majority of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history
  • –Inherited genes that increased cancer risk- the BRCA1 and the BRCA2 are gene mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer and can be passed from parent to children.  
  • –Radiation exposure particularly of the chest
  • –Obesity
  • –Beginning your period at a younger age
  • –Beginning menopause at an older age
  • –Having your first child at an older age
  • –Having never been pregnant
  • –Postmenopausal hormone therapy- hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat symptoms of menopause
  • –Drinking alcohol

How to Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer:

  • –Ask your doctor about breast cancer screening—discuss when to begin breast cancer screening, tests, clinical and exams and mammograms
  • –Become familiar with your breasts through self exam and awareness.  This cannot prevent breast cancer but it can make your more aware of changes in your own breast tissue and help you to be able to recognize changes or unusual signs and symptoms. 
  • –Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • –Exercise most days of the week.  Aim for 30 minutes most days of the week.  If you have not exercised in a while, consult your physician as to the best way to start.
  • –Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy.  To reduce the risk, use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time.  
  • –Maintain a healthy weight.
  • –Choose a healthy diet filled with a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals.  Speak with your doctor or nutritionist about your specific dietary needs for the most optimal dietary balance for you. 

Let’s all celebrate our best health including breast health.  Let’s do this in memory and support of those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer as well as the community and loved ones who have been affected.  

For those diagnosed or recovering from breast cancer, click here to see our blog on stretches and exercises to help the recovery process. 

Reference:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352470

 

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