Helping to increase awareness and save lives the Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa reveals what women can do in their own lives to prevent breast cancer.
Breast cancer is among the top two most common cancers in women today, second only to skin cancer. Although the number of new cases has begun to show a slight decrease, about 40,000 women are expected to lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. Statistics tell us that about 1 out of every 8 women born in the United States today will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. The good news is that if it’s found and treated early enough, many women can, and will survive breast cancer. The drop in breast cancer mortality has been attributed to both improvements in breast cancer treatment and early detection.
Breast cancer typically shows up in four ways:
• during a screening examination
• before symptoms have developed
• after symptoms have developed
• when a woman self-detects a lump
By and large, most suspicious masses detected by a mammogram as well as most breast lumps will turn out to be benign or noncancerous and therefore do not grow uncontrollably or spread and become life-threatening. Microscopic analysis of breast tissue is necessary to arrive at a definitive diagnosis or to determine the extent of potential spread and to characterize the pattern of the disease. Tissue samples for this type of analysis are generally obtained by way of a needle or surgical biopsy.
The First Line of Defense – Early Detection
More than fifty percent of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making common sense healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, pursuing an active routine, and getting the recommended screenings. Early management of breast problems can contribute to a more positive outcome of any treatment that may be prescribed. Awareness of how to maintain breast health is important to living a healthy lifestyle that includes;
• self-breast exams
• breast checks during routine gynecologic exams
• screening mammographies
Self-check breast exams are relatively easy to perform at home and should be conducted monthly, this combined with annual breast exams with your physician at Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group will help to detect breast problems early-on. Depending on factors such as age and individual health, a more frequent interval of regular check-ups may be recommended for some women.
Healthy Lifestyle Choice Can Lower Risk
The American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines recommends some variation of the following healthy lifestyle choices for lowering the risk of many types of cancers, including breast cancer;
• Be physically active and include a routine of daily exercise
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
• Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily
• Include whole grain foods in your diet (such as whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa)
• Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat (particularly important for menopausal women)
• Limit “bad” fats (commonly found in red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn)
• Eat “good” fats (found in olive, canola and coconut oil, nuts, avocados and olives)
• Limit alcohol intake (no more than one drink a day for women)
Of all the healthy lifestyle choices for reducing breast cancer risk, the growing evidence associated with regular physical activity is perhaps the most impressive. Studies outlined by the National Institutes of Health now suggest that women who get regular physical activity have as much as 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who are inactive, and postmenopausal than premenopausal women show the best results. The benefit may be due to the overall effects of physical activity on body mass, energy balance and hormones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity spread over the week (or an equivalent combination) is all it takes to reduce the risk of many cancers.
About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group
The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102. We urge you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians if you suspect that you may have any breast health problems.