Christina Applegate is the newest Hollywood Celebrity to be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. According to her agent, the 36 year-old-actress ( best known for her role of Kelly Bundy on Married with Children) is undergoing medical treatment at this time. Her cancer was caught early, thanks in large part to a doctor recommended MRI and her cancer is not expected to be life threatening. So how can you reduce your risk of Breast Cancer? How can you distinguish between breast cancer facts and fiction?
Top Breast Cancer Myths:
Only women get breast cancer:
Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, according to Breastcancer.org. But women aren’t the only ones getting breast cancer. Every year almost 2000 men are also diagnosed with breast cancer. While the risk of getting breast cancer is markedly increased if you are a woman, men aren’t completely safe. Men should be aware of any suspicious lumps in their breast tissue and notify their physician if they suspect they may have breast cancer.
It doesn’t run in my family!
While having a first degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) in your family with breast cancer does double your risk of contracting breast cancer, about 70%-80% of all breast cancers were contracted by women with no family history of the disease. This is an unsettling statistic for many of us who have blissfully believed we were safe from breast cancer because no one in our family had it. All of us, regardless of family history and gender, need to take the necessary precautions to reduce our risk of breast cancer.
What Can You Do to Reduce your Risk of Breast Cancer?
If you are considering having children, you might want to start before you are 30. Having multiple children, having your first child before you are 30, and breastfeeding all reduce the risk of breast cancer. Learn how to perform monthly breast exams and notify your doctor of any changes in your breast tissue. Visit your OBGYN yearly to have her perform a breast exam as well and begin having yearly mammograms when you are over the age of 35 if you have a family history of breast cancer.
In addition to performing regular breast exams, you need to live a healthy lifestyle. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Women who consume more than 1 drink a day have a significant increase in their risk of contracting breast, liver, mouth and esophageal cancers.
Loose the extra weight: Obesity is quickly becoming a national epidemic in this country. Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause. In addition to increasing breast cancer, being obese is also associated with an increase in heart disease, and various other diseases and cancers.
Exercise regularly: Researchers are finding more and more connections between breast cancer and exercise. As little as 2 hours of brisk walking a week can decrease your risk by up to 18%. For good health, the American Cancer Society still recommends 45-60 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.
There are several risks to breast cancer that have not been proven yet and while studies have not shown a link, more research is being done in these areas.
Link between antiperspirants and breast cancer
Wearing Bras causing breast cancer
High Fat diets causing breast cancer
Smoking causing breast cancer
Induced Abortions causing breast cancer
Night Shift Work causing breast cancer
The jury is still out as to whether these are actually risks or merely myths and more research is needed before scientists come to a complete conclusion about them. If you or someone you love suspects they may have breast cancer, do not wait and head to your doctor immediately. Early intervention and detection is the #1 key to beating this disease and becoming a cancer survivor!!