Lead A Healthy Lifestyle, Check Your Breasts and Go for Regular Mammograms

All women are at risk of breast cancer, the most common cancer among women in Singapore. And unfortunately, our risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. 

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Photo Credits: iStock, Staticnak1983

Although breast cancer is still considered uncommon for women under 45, once you hit the big 4-0, it may be time to pay your family doctor a visit and discuss your options for getting screened. Usually, yearly mammograms are recommended. 

Mammograms - an x-ray of the breast - is the primary screening tool for breast cancer. It involves pressing your breasts under two plates to capture an image that may show lumps and/or abnormalities. If you don’t need to go for regular mammograms just yet, you should still make it a habit to check your breasts yourself once a month (a week after your period). 

Some risk factors associated with breast cancer are beyond our control. For starters, being a woman puts us at a much higher risk of the disease. Having a family history of breast cancer also increases your risk, as about 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary.  

That said, there are just as many risk factors that are linked to your lifestyle. The risks are higher for women who:

  • are not physically active
  • are overweight or obese
  • are going into menopause
  • have their first pregnancy after age 30
  • have not breastfed 
  • have never had a full-term pregnancy.

So aside from checking your breasts and getting screened regularly, you should also maintain a healthy lifestyle to lower your breast cancer risks. Maintain a healthy weight, stay active and eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and foods that are low in fats. You should also go easy on the alcohol - if you can’t avoid it altogether, make sure you have less than one alcoholic drink per day. 

References: 

https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors

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