Every year that passes, more and more research indicates that you may be able to prevent certain cancers later in life by making conscientious changes today. While some diseases are determined largely by our genetics, there are other ways to fortify your body against cancers, like breast cancer. In fact, only 5-10% of all cancers are determined by a genetic defect while the rest depend largely on environmental and lifestyle factors.
During this National Breast Cancer Awareness month, we want to remind our community that while there are no guaranteed ways to prevent breast cancer, you can make gradual, but effective changes that significantly decrease your chances of breast cancer later in life. Keep reading to learn how you can fortify your body against breast cancer and work towards a healthier you.
Decrease stress and anxiety
We know, we know – this is often said easier than done, but trust us, it’s for the best. Decreasing stress and anxiety in your life isn’t just about improving your mental health, it also protects your physical, long term health. Chronic stress reaps complete havoc on the human body, often leading to hormonal imbalances, weight issues, depression and other diseases. Research also shows that anxiety can increase your chances of developing certain cancers because it leads to elevated levels of stress response hormones.
Our body is a fine-tuned machine. If one cog or screw falls out of place, it can mean serious, and lasting effects on our health. Chronic stress has been shown in recent studies to not only increase your chances of developing some cancers, like breast cancer, but also to help the cancer spread more effectively throughout your body. But it’s not always easy to eliminate all sources of stress from our lives. Tests, coordinating birthday parties and soccer games, or finishing a huge work project will never stop being stressful. The key is to develop better methods at dealing with stress and anxiety in our lives.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends the following changes to decrease chronic stress and help you deal with everyday anxieties more effectively.
- Lay off the caffeine, which is proven to increase anxiety and the stress response in some individuals.
- Get more sleep. Even 2 hours less of sleep each night than you’re used to has been shown to severely impact your health, mental and physical.
- Catch some sunshine. Spending a few minutes in the sun everyday, even as you walk to the mailbox, increases all sorts of good-for-you vitamins in your body.
- Learn your triggers. Sit down with friends and family and have a casual conversation about how they can help limit your stress by being conscientious of your triggers.
No one can handle everything that life throws at them alone, so make sure to reach out to someone you can trust. Venting doesn’t just feel good, it keeps you healthy.
Whether it be through self massage or a doctor’s visit, make sure you’re maintaining your breast health. Regular exams are essential in detecting abnormalities in the breast before they develop into cancer. Early stage breast cancers are usually present with no physical symptoms so it’s important to have regular mammograms, even if you have no family history.
It’s also important to find out if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, or related cancers. You can also test yourself for the BRCA gene, which if positive, indicates a significant chance of breast and ovarian cancer later in life. While testing for your genetic predispositions to breast cancer can be scary, it can also save your life. The more knowledge you have about your genetic makeup, the more empowered you are to make the smartest decisions for your breast health.
Not sure how to perform a self exam? No worries – visit here to learn.
Watch your weight
Being significantly under or overweight has been shown to increase your chances of breast cancer, especially for post-menopausal women. Research indicates that the healthiest women, who are most resilient to chronic disease, usually have body fat percentages in between 21 and 25 percent. For athletes, it’s usually a little lower. Most importantly, maintaining a healthy weight means a sustainable diet and fitness routine. Constantly losing then gaining back weight will have long term health consequences.
For more information about breast cancer awareness, visit here.
Protect your future breast health with some of these tips and let us know how you’re making proactive choices for this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your loved ones’ health. You can depend on our trusted brand to deliver the emergency care you deserve at Victoria Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.