Cancer is not your fault. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, say it with me: “Cancer is not my fault.” Repeat as needed.
Breast cancer, in particular, is less predictable than other cancers that are sometimes associated with lifestyle and behavior choices. That being said, there may be some things you can do to mitigate your risks or boost your survival rate, should you be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Stats
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. And while it is less common, men can have breast cancer, too. Below you can learn more about some risk factors associated with breast cancer. First, you should know that many people with risk factors never develop breast cancer. And 60-70% of people who are diagnosed have no known risk factors.
Breast Cancer Causes
The cause of most individuals’ breast cancer is usually unknown. There is usually a combination of environmental and genetic predisposition. Some things that can predict a higher likelihood of breast cancer include:
- Being female. Women are 100 times more likely than men to have breast cancer
- Early menstruation or late menopause. Getting your first period before the age of 12 or experiencing menopause after age 55 can both mean a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Family history. If a sister, biologic aunt (not by marriage), mother, child, or father has been diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk increases as well.
- Genetic mutation. Known genome changes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 may indicate a higher likelihood of breast cancer being in your family and potentially passed on to offspring. This is detected through a genetics test and is usually done if you have a family history of breast cancer.
Behavioral Risk Factors
While you cannot change the above factors, there are a few things within your control that can help mitigate your risk. If you have the following factors, talk with your doctor, and make a plan to proactively protect your health.
- Sedentary Lifestyle. A lack of physical activity can increase your risk of breast cancer. But this is easily remedied! Start taking walks, whether in nature or indoors, alone or with friends or a walking club. Find an activity you enjoy.
- Poor Diet. A diet high in saturated fat and low in fruits and veggies can cause damage to the body at a cellular level. An apple a day really does help!
- Obesity. As you can guess from the previous two risk factors, being overweight or obese increases your risk. Talk to your doctor about simple, sustainable lifestyle changes that could help lower all three of these risk factors.
- Drinking. You’ll see plenty of articles that indicate wine can be beneficial (in small amounts) to heart health. But frequent consumption of alcohol boosts your chance of developing breast cancer. And the more you drink, the higher the risk.
Early Detection Matters
Breast cancer is always scary. But the earlier it is found, the higher your chance to beat breast cancer may become. Monthly self-breast exams can be very helpful in early detection. No one knows your body, your breast tissue, and the subtle changes therein better than you. Detecting a lump or other potential breast cancer indicator means you can get to the doctor for a mammogram or other tests to determine what, if anything, needs to be done.
Annual mammograms are also key to early detection and fighting to beat breast cancer. A few minutes of awkwardness can lead to a lifetime of better health. Don’t discount or shy away from this important, proactive step in your well-being.
Breast Cancer Care
The compassionate people at Pretty in Pink Boutique are committed to preventing breast cancer and walking alongside those diagnosed at any stage. We are committed to your well-being the whole way through and may be able to assist or provide resources to help you. Please contact us via phone or email us and let us know how we can help.