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CANCER INFORMATION

Breast Cancer

While not all diseases are alike, and many can strike anyone at any time, there are always things people can do to help lower their risk of getting certain diseases. Breast cancer strikes millions of women each year in the United States alone, and many are not even aware that they have it until it is discovered by their doctor. Fortunately, there are some things women can do to help lower their risk of breast cancer. Of course, some things like genetics and race can be factors we cannot control. Increasing age is also a factor. On the other hand, even when certain women may be considered a higher risk than others, there are things they can do to be proactive against the disease. First, weight is a big factor when it comes to preventing breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight and not being overweight can make a huge difference. If you feel you are overweight or your doctor has indicated you are overweight, try to get on a nutrition and exercise program to help shed some extra pounds. Find friends to join you so you don't feel like you're alone in the journey. Keeping a healthy weight can truly help to decrease your risk of breast cancer, and a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables can really help, too. Smoking is another big factor that increases the risk of breast cancer. If you're a smoker, try to get on a quit smoking plan that will work for you. Again, you can enlist the help of friends who may be smokers as well and try to quit together.

Besides lifestyle changes, keeping a close eye on your own body is very important as well. Many women's lives are saved each year because they follow the proper procedures for checking into whether or not they have breast cancer. First, a self exam of the breasts can be a good way to learn about your body, and know when things just don't feel right. A lot of women have discovered a lump on their breast because of a self exam, and that discovery has actually helped to save lives. Performing a simple, five to ten minute exam once a week is all it takes to help put your mind at ease. Many organizations offer shower cards that can be hung in the shower which help show you how to do a self breast exam. Of course, professional tests such as mammogram are also important in detecting breast cancer. Every woman over the age of 18 should have one at least once a year, and women over 40 should try to get a mammogram once every six months or so if possible. Many programs offer free mammogram screenings, so you may want to look into these as well. A combination of a healthier lifestyle and proper testing can help to ensure you are breast cancer free, and if you happen to be diagnosed, remember that early detection and treatment is the absolute key to a speedy and safe recovery.

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