Fargo VA Health Care System
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to spread the word regarding the importance of early detection of breast cancer through regular medical evaluations and appropriate screening mammograms.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued guidelines for breast cancer prevention that include the steps below. Keep in mind that these are only guidelines; you should talk with your own health care provider for personalized guidance about when you should start being tested and how often.
Probably the best thing a woman can do to manage the risk of breast cancer is to have regular mammograms. A mammogram is a special type of X-ray of the breasts which can reveal tumors long before they are big enough for you or your health care provider to feel. Informed decision-making with a health care provider is most important when having this screening test done.
In addition to getting screened, you can learn and practice healthy habits that lower the risks of breast cancer. Some of these healthy habits include:
Maintaining a healthy weight - Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for breast cancer. Keeping the weight off through regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and portion control can lower your risk for breast cancer and a number of other diseases.
Getting a daily dose of physical activity - Considerable evidence links physical activity to reduced breast cancer risk. While everyone is different, 30 minutes a day of a moderate-intensity activity like brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Limiting alcohol consumption - According to the National Cancer Institute, drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. A good rule of thumb for women is to have only one drink or less per day-for men, it's two drinks or less.
For more information on breast cancer-including diagnosis, treatment and prevention-visit www.cancer.org.