I know what I’m supposed to do; at least I think I know what I am supposed to do but I don’t do it.
I must admit that I am undisciplined in this area. I don’t know why I don’t take the time to do monthly breast exams. Maybe it is because I don’t have a history of breast cancer in my family, or that I try to maintain a decent diet and exercise routine so I don’t perceive the risk. Maybe it is because, like flossing, it would be just one more thing to do at the time when my first priority is elsewhere like getting out of the door in the morning or getting to bed at night. These are poor excuses I know and I wish that I could commit to myself right now that I am going to do better in this area but today that would be a lie.
Never-the-less, I did want to share a couple quick nuggets with the more disciplined folks out there concerning breast cancer. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation:
- We should give ourselves breast self-exams at least once a month
- We should have a physical once every year
- According to the National Cancer Institute, women 40 years and older should get a mammogram every one to two years.
- Like anything else, proper low-fat diet (including fruits and vegetables) and exercise (4 hrs/wk) can reduce our risk of breast cancer
- Having a family history of breast cancer puts you at a higher risk and should therefore consider getting a mammogram earlier and more often than previously mentioned
- Drinking alcohol (as little as 1-2 drinks/day) has been shown to slightly increase chances of getting breast cancer
- Using oral contraceptives for more than ten years has proven to increase the risk of breast cancer for women under the age of 35
For more information related to breast cancer, here are the official websites for the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
For all breast cancer survivors, those currently suffering with the disease, and those who are missing loved ones lost to the illness, I wanted to share this tribute from So You Think You Can Dance.
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011