October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and here at tgin it’s personal. Our CEO and founder Chris-Tia Donaldson is now a breast cancer survivor after undergoing treatment last year.
Unfortunately, more than 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year and while that’s a scary statistic, we want to give you ways to reduce your risk. Here’s some things you can do to help prevent breast cancer.
Put the cigarettes down! Cases of breast cancer in women are 24% higher among smokers than in non-smokers. Former smokers have a risk that is 13% higher. A great incentive to quit puffing. If you need help call a counselor for support at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Just walking 1.25 hours 2.5 days a week can reduce your risk of breast cancer by 18%. Get those walking shoes on and make sure it’s a brisk walk. Working up a sweat feels good and it’s good for you.
Limit your Alcohol Intake
Research has shown that women who drink more than three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who don’t drink. It’s estimated that risk increases another 10% for each additional drink women have each day.
Get your Vitamin D
Women with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of breast cancer, but how do you get vitamin D? The best way is good old fashioned sunshine. 20-25 minutes of direct exposure to the sun every day is all you need. You can also take vitamin D3 supplements which may be needed for those with darker skin tones because you may naturally produce less vitamin D.
Eating a diet low in red meat, sodium, and processed foods can lower your risk of breast cancer by 20%. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables more often.
Watch your Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can be an important factor in avoiding breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Foundation reports that gaining 20 pounds after age 18 can increase your chances of breast cancer by 15%. If women gain 55 pounds or more, those chances are raised to 45%
Know your Family History
While most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease, if you do have a mother, sister, or daughter that has had breast cancer, your risk is almost doubled. Your risk is also increased if any blood relative has had the disease.
You can’t control every factor that may lead to a breast cancer diagnosis, but there are plenty of things you can control. Making healthy choices can make the difference.
For more information on breast cancer visit these sites:
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Stephanie Kemp is a writer, poet, natural hair lover, and social media specialist. Follow her on Twitter @stephanie_poet.