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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness

Each October, 12 organizations devoted to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer join together to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women, and early detection can reduce mortality and morbidity from the disease.

One in eight women in this country will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. An estimated 220,000 women and 2,150 men are diagnosed with the disease each year. More than 40,000 of those women and 410 of those men will die annually.

Certain risk factors for the disease cannot be changed like age and gender, but others can be modified.

You have control over the following risk factors:

  • Being inactive
  • Eating a diet high in saturated fat and low in vegetables and fruits
  • Being overweight or obese, especially after menopause
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy for symptoms of menopause
  • Drinking alcohol frequently

To reduce your risk, adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Consider incorporating these practices:

  • Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. There seems to be a correlation between vigorous activity and better protection.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and add little or no fat, sugar or salt.
  • Maintain a healthy weight/BMI. Just 10 pounds can make a huge difference.
  • Talk to your health-care provider about ways to handle menopause without using hormones.
  • Drink non-alcoholic beverages, like seltzer water with lime or a “virgin” drink at social events. After a hard day, do yoga, take a walk, enjoy a warm bath, mediate or write in a journal instead of having a drink.
  • Do monthly self-breast exams and see your health-care provider for clinical breast exams and mammograms.

For more info on breast cancer and events supporting research visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/.