In the United States alone, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women and is the second leading cause of death among them. As shocking as these numbers are, you do not need to become one of these statistics. The healthier your habits and the earlier you are able to catch breast cancer, the better your odds for survival. Radiologist and doctor, Jim Gray MD, who has a practice in Mississippi, took the to go over some key tips for taking ample care of your breast health.
Before we get started, what is breast cancer and what does it to do the body? Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. Doctor Jim Gray MD explains that these cells usually form a tumor that can be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump; a tumor is malignant and cancerous if the cells can grow into and invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body. However, breast cancer prevention that starts with healthy habits and regular check-ups, may reduce your risk and improve your overall health.
One of the first things you should do is identify whether or not your family has a history of cancer. Doctor Jim Gray MD explains that you may be at high risk of breast cancer if you have a mother or sister who developed breast or ovarian cancer, especially at an early age. Identifying this history with your primary health care physician will allow you to collaborate and create a plan that optimizes your overall health and schedules regular check-ups to ensure you are staying healthy.
Jim Gray MD explains that one of the key champions in the fight against breast cancer is screening with mammography. For most women, mammograms can begin at age 40, but specific recommendations may vary by age and risk (as mentioned above). Between the bracket of 45–54, women are recommended to receive a mammogram every year, while if you are 55 and over, doctors recommend once every other year.
In addition to screenings, there are several key lifestyle changes that can act as preventative measures against breast cancer. One key thing you can do for your breast health today is exercise. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps prevent breast cancer. Most healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
If alcohol and cigarettes are two of your vices, it is time to quit the habit. Jim Gray MD emphasized that smoking not only lowers your quality of life, but can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and at least fifteen cancers. And while moderate drinking can be good for the heart in older adults, even low levels of intake can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Lately, a key component to any healthy lifestyle regiment is a healthy diet. A recent study of over 91,000 women found that following a diet comprising of mostly plants could cut the risk of developing breast cancer by 15%. This means that you will want to incorporate things like colorful fruits and vegetables, foods rich in vitamin D, spices with anti-inflammatory properties into your diet. Importantly, if you have any questions about how to best care for your breast health, Doctor Jim Gray MD in Mississippi explains that you should consult your health care physician to ensure you create a plan that works best for you.