A Guide to Breast-Health Living
There’s significant evidence that your lifestyle can lower your risk for breast cancer. Here’s information on how you can create a three-step, breast health plan.
Does your dinner plate usually include chicken or fish with a leafy green salad or vegetables like broccoli, kale or cauliflower? It’s important because 60 percent of all cancers in women and 40 percent of all cancers in men may be linked to diet and nutrition, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
Maintaining a consistently healthy weight and consuming a nutritious diet can lower your risk for breast cancer. Women who are overweight – especially those who gained more than 50 pounds between age 18 and menopause – are at increased risk for breast cancer. Find out if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is within a healthy range.
Do you lace up your shoes for a brisk walk, a heart-pumping Zumba workout or another favorite fitness activity for a total of 3½ to 7 hours? Physically active women are at lower risk for breast cancer than inactive women, according to the National Cancer Institute. Just 3½ to 7 hours a week of moderate to high-intensity physical activity is linked to reduced risk for breast cancer.
Select an exercise that suits your lifestyle. If you’re a beginner or even a long-time exercise enthusiast who wants a more challenging workout, consult a medical expert before changing your routine.
Jogging or Running
Circuit Weight Training
Source: American Cancer Society
Need advice on how to get started on an exercise program? Check out the Wellness Centers at YRMC. The exercise physiologists and personal trainers at either our Prescott or Prescott Valley location can tailor a fitness plan that’s right for you.
Tips for Sticking to Your Fitness Plan
People begin diets, exercise routines and other healthy pursuits with the best of intentions. Here are some ways to keep your commitment to a breast healthy lifestyle.
Write down your goal – take a 30-minute walk every day, for example – and then outline its benefits and drawbacks. Typically, the benefits will be apparent (good health, more energy). The drawbacks – such as getting up earlier every day or missing a favorite television show – may be more difficult to identify. Find your hurdles and then take steps to eliminate them.
On a scale of 0-10, rank the likelihood that you will achieve your goal. If it’s below 7 on the confidence scale, adjust your goal – take a 30-minute walk five days a week – until you are ready for greater challenges.
The more specific your goal, the more achievable. For example, take a 30-minute brisk walk five days a week immediately after work.
Tell family and friends about your goal and ask for their support. Your commitment may inspire some to join
Are you committed to monthly breast self-examinations and do you pursue regular digital breast screenings? YRMC recommends a comprehensive approach to breast health, including:
Ideally, women should begin monthly breast self-examinations in their 20s. Learn to recognize changes or potential abnormalities in your breasts that may need further evaluation from a physician.
YRMC recommends yearly clinical breast exams, performed by a healthcare professional, beginning at age 40. Women at greater risk for breast cancer may need more frequent clinical exams.
If you’re at average risk for breast cancer, it’s recommended that you begin digital mammography screening at age 40 and undergo screenings every year after that. Women considered high risk may begin regular screenings before age 40. Talk to your healthcare provider and create a digital mammography screening plan that’s unique to you. Check out YRMC’s Community BreastCare Fund to learn about free digital mammography screening and other breast health support.