The staff of The Women’s Center at Door County Medical Center encourage women to take steps to prevent breast cancer, as well as being proactive in early detection. “Breast Cancer will affect one in eight women in their lifetimes,” says Ann Bretl, RN, Nursing Supervisor at the Women’s Center, “and early detection is key to providing the best chances for treatment.”
Here are some steps you can take:
- Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to one drink a day. Moderate, heavy and binge drinking are linked to a greater risk of breast cancer.
- Quit smoking. Evidence shows a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, especially in younger women.
- Control your weight. Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer, especially if it occurs later in life.
- Keep on moving. Many studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk.
- Breast Feed. Breast-feeding may play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect may be.
Early Detection Saves Lives
Other than lifestyle changes, the most important action a woman can take is to follow the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for early detection, which improves the chances that cancer can be diagnosed and treated successfully at an early stage.
- See your doctor. Women age 40 and older should talk to their doctor about how often to have a mammogram. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of their regular health exam.
- Consider BSE’s (Breast Self Exams). Report any breast changes to your health care provider right away.
- Recognize your risk. Women of any age at high risk based on certain factors should get a mammogram every year. Talk with your doctor about what screening plan is right for you.