October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on: October 01, 2022 In: Breast Augmentation, Breast Asymmetry, Breast Health

October is breast cancer awareness month, and it is a great time to raise awareness about breast health and breast cancer prevention. Breast cancer impacts thousands of women and is a devasting illness. To keep yourself healthy, it is important to take preventative steps against cancer and schedule regular breast examinations.

Breast Cancer Prevention

Although there are no cures for cancer or 100% effective prevention, there are a few adjustments you can make in your everyday life to lower your risk of breast cancer.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Weight gain of as little as 10% for women over the age of 18 can significantly increase your risk of breast cancer or cancer recurrence. Make sure to eat a healthy diet and exercise at least four hours a week. High levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones have been linked to breast cancer and exercise can prevent hormonal levels from fluctuating.

Healthy Diet

Eating a plant-based, low-fat diet has many health benefits and can lower your risk of breast cancer. Plant-based foods are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals which protect your body from many chronic diseases. The recommended serving of fruits and vegetables is 6-9 servings a day.

Certain fats like omega fatty acids have beneficial properties but you should try to avoid processed or saturated fats like butter, hydrogenated oils, fatty meats, and full-fat dairy. Instead, choose healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, fish, nuts, and seeds. Processed foods also contain sugar which increases your insulin levels and causes weight gain.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Women who drink 2-4 glasses of beer or wine per day increase their risk of breast cancer by 41%. Although some alcohol is not harmful, you should try to limit your consumption to 2 servings or less per week. Servings of alcohol are measured as a 5oz glass of red wine, 12oz of beer, or 1.5oz of liquor.

Breast Health Awareness

Being aware of the normal look and feel of your breasts is important and you should track any noticeable changes. The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends a breast self-exam once a month.

Breast Self-Exam

A breast self-exam can easily be performed at home. Start in the shower or in front of a mirror and use your three middle fingers to gently pressure your breast tissue and armpit area, checking for any lumps or thickened patches of skin. This can also be done lying down. When lying down, you should also gently squeeze your nipple and check for discharge.

You should also inspect your breasts in a mirror with your arms at your sides and raised over your head. Take notice of any swelling or changes to the contour of your breasts or nipples. Place your palms on your hips and flex your chest muscles while looking for unusual dimpling or puckering.

Breast Cancer Treatment

If you notice any changes to the shape or texture of your breasts, schedule a consultation with your doctor or OB/GYN. A breast lump is not always a cause for immediate concern, but it is important you get it checked out as a precaution. About 40% of breast cancers are found by a self-test, so it is important you conduct these regularly. Early diagnosis of breast cancer will increase your chances of fighting the disease with chemotherapy and/or a mastectomy.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have fought against breast cancer and have received a mastectomy, you may feel self-conscious about the remaining emotional and physical scars of breast cancer. At Michigan Plastic Surgery in East Lansing, MI, we offer breast reconstruction to help women regain their confidence and feel beautiful inside and out. Schedule your consultation today by calling our office or filling out an online contact form.