Cancer.gov says that breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer, and about 255,000 cases are expected this year alone. This kind of information can be alarming to women, who make up the majority of the patients. While you can't change your family history, you can take preventative measures that can lower your risk or catch cancer early--take a look:
Commit to a Healthier Lifestyle
This is arguably one of the easiest things you can do because there is an infinite number of ways to improve your health. For example, something as small as brushing and flossing regularly could lower your risk. An article in Time magazine says that women with gum disease are 13% more likely to develop breast cancer.
If you smoke or drink alcohol in excess, consider cutting back on both--or even quitting--since both can increase your chances of cancer. Controlling these habits not only reduces your risk of breast cancer but a whole host of other cancers as well, like oral cancer.
Lastly, eating a healthy diet, staying at a healthy BMI, and exercising regularly are all great ways to lower your risk.
Start Getting 3D Mammograms
Unlike 2D mammograms that may take one or two pictures of the breast at different angles, 3D mammograms take multiple images. These kinds of mammograms are safe, and breastcancer.org says that they often spot cancers that 2D mammograms miss, as well as reduce the incidence of false-positive tests.
While a mammogram may not prevent cancer, it can lower your risk of late-stage cancers and cancers that have metastasized to other areas of the body. Sometimes lumps are much too small to be felt by physical exams, but they can be seen on a 3D mammogram.
Since the risk of cancer increases with age, it's vital for menopausal women to get these checks done regularly. In fact, if you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor may recommend that you start getting these done in your 30s or 40s.
Consider a Preventative Mastectomy if You're High Risk
If you are an extremely high-risk patient and your family history is fraught with breast cancer, it may be a good idea to talk about a preventative mastectomy with your doctor. This decision is intensely personal since it can be devastating to remove all of one's breast tissue. However, since this is a preventative procedure and not a cosmetic one, The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 says that breast reconstruction must be provided if your insurance covers the mastectomy. This is a great blessing for many women since it can help them retain their breast shape without prostheses and feel confident about their bodies.
Talk with a medical office like Hudson Valley Imaging for more ideas on how to lower your risk of breast cancer.