Breast Self Awareness

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Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when chances for survival are highest. Healthy lifestyle choices may help lower your risk of different types of cancer and other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Although not all the behaviors listed below lower the risk of breast cancer, they are good for overall health.* Everyone should aim to:
• Be physically active (get regular exercise).
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (Survivors who are overweight or obese should limit high-calorie foods and beverages and increase physical activity to help with weight loss.)
• Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
• Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).
• Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often.
• Limit “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats). These are found in foods such as red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.
• Eat “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.
• Limit alcohol intake to less than one drink a day for women and fewer than two drinks a day for men.

Know Your Risk
Talk to both sides of your family to learn about your family health history. Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

Get Screened
Talk with your doctor about which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk. Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk. Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40. Sign up for your screening reminder at what is normal for you. See your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes: Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area. Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast. Change in the size or shape of the breast. Dimpling or puckering of the skin. Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple. Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast. Nipple discharge that starts suddenly. New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away. To see illustrations of these warnings signs, please visit the breast cancer Warning Signs & Symptoms page.

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Maintain a healthy weight. Add exercise into your routine. Limit alcohol intake. Limit menopausal hormone use. Breastfeed, if you can.