As you may already be aware, October is nationally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This particular form of cancer has elevated levels or “hot spots” on Long Island, which is why it is so important that we open a dialogue about lowering the risk factors and treatment of this disease that effects so many of our mothers, sisters, friends, and family. It is never an easy topic to talk about, especially when the emotional and physical scars that breast cancer leaves behind are so deep, and take such time to heal – but that is why it is important to talk about it, and to protect ourselves from the vicious disease that can ravage even the strongest person.
It feels as though almost every Long Islander has been affected in some way by breast cancer, whether it be by suffering themselves, or losing a family member or friend – or maybe they exist on the more positive side of the fence, and their story is one of success and triumph. No matter where you are, or how breast cancer has affected your life, make sure to share this important and vital information with the people that you love, so that as a community we can work to prevent, and one day cure this disease, and lend a hand to those who are already suffering.
Here are some Important Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Breast Cancer
- Make sure to get screened annually by your doctor, and if something doesn’t seem right – get it checked out immediately.
- If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, make sure that you get genetically tested to see if you are at a higher risk.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol – it has been found that consuming alcohol will increase your risk for breast cancer – so if you do drink, make sure to limit yourself to no more than one beer or cocktail.
- Avoid exposure to pesticides and other environmental pollutants – studies suggest that there is a link between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in air pollution and vehicle exhaust and heightened risk of breast cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet – women who maintain a healthy BMI have been found to be at lower risk for breast cancer.
- Know your risk level before taking oral contraceptives – it has been found that oral contraceptives may slightly increase your risk for cancer, so make sure to talk to your doctor about your risk factors.
- Talk to your family – make sure to find out your family history – one of the best tools available to know your risk level, is to know your family’s medical history. If anyone in your family has had breast cancer, make sure to talk to your doctor about an appropriate course of action for screening and prevention.
This is only a fraction of the preventative measures you can take to protect yourself against breast cancer – make sure to utilize these resources to get the information you need to know. Make sure to check out our events calendar for some wonderful Charity Events happening all October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
If you, or a loved one is effected by Breast Cancer, there is help available to you locally. Please visit the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition’s website – they also have links to other local organizations all over Long Island.
This article was written by Cait Russell.
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