With one in eight women projected to be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, understanding what affects your risk and how to catch any warning signs early – not only for your own sake, but for the sakes of your loved ones- is more important than ever. There may not be a cure for breast cancer yet, but there is so much you can do to raise awareness and lower your risk.
1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
You can reduce your risk for breast cancer by leading a healthier lifestyle – including exercising regularly, making healthier choices when it comes to eating and drinking, and limiting your exposure to tobacco and alcohol. The changes don’t have to be drastic – start with simple changes, such as swapping one sugar-sweetened beverage a day for water, adding fruit and vegetables to your diet or taking the dog for an extra-long walk.
2. Know your history and how to detect the symptoms
Despite a healthy lifestyle, if you have a family history of breast cancer, that adds to your risk. So, it’s crucial to know if any of your close relatives have had the disease. In addition, there are factors you can be on the lookout for as warning signs at almost any age. The American Cancer Society recommends starting routine self-examinations in your 20’s, so you can report any changes or concerns to your health care provider. You can also visit MayoClinic.com for more information. Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40.
3. Support research and the mission to find a cure
Great work has been done to improve the treatment of breast cancer and researchers are working tirelessly towards a cure. In order to continue their intensive and innovative research, they need the support of organizations, such as The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), to help fund their work. BCRF, for example, directs more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to breast cancer research and awareness programs.
There are simple ways for you to get involved – from buying products that support these types of organizations to hosting a fundraiser with friends. Nestle Pure Life brand bottled water is a great example, spotlighting breast cancer awareness on its packaging nationwide and in Canada during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). For every specially marked “pink ribbon” package produced, the company will donate 10 cents to BCRF (minimum donation of $350,000). The funding will support a BCRF grant directed to researchers who are working on innovative ways to prevent, treat and cure all aspects of breast cancer.
For more information on how to get involved in raising awareness and on the latest research and breakthroughs, visit BCRFCure.org. There are even more tips on precautions you and your loved ones can take to reduce your risk and get involved.