I have several close family members who have or had breast cancer so am careful about self exams and screening, despite a lower risk at my age.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN have teamed up to share information about breast health and you can earn 500 Optimum points just for taking their breast health plan survey (just a couple of minutes of your time, you learn important facts and 500 Optimum points towards your next redemption).
Would it surprise you to know that 1/3 of breast cancers could be prevented by living well? Here are some of the other helpful tips shared by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation:
- Just 5–10% of breast cancers are linked to family history. Most breast cancers are due to a combination of other factors – including things you can change in your lifestyle (this makes me feel so much better, my own doctor is big about the increased chance due to close family members having cancer)
- Most women are at average risk for breast cancer – only 1-2% are considered to be at “high risk”. Those with 2 or more immediate family members with breast cancer, repeated chest radiation before the age of 30, or a known BRCA 1 or 2 genetic mutation in their family, should talk to their health care provider.
- Although younger woman do develop breast cancer, getting older is one of the biggest contributing factors. Living well and regular screening are your best defences against breast cancer. If you are under 40, your chances of breast cancer with a good lifestyle is just 0.4% but jumps up to 3.2% in your 60s.
- Regular physical activity helps reduce your risk of breast cancer. A healthier body weight is key. And the benefits of being active begin as soon as you start, no matter how old you are (so you know that resolution to get active/fit/healthy? Keep going!)
- It’s beneficial to be breast aware. Even though some breast changes are normal, other changes are not. Know how your breasts normally look and feel, so that any unusual changes can be discussed with a health care provider.
- Regular screening can find earlier signs of breast cancer – including tumours that are too small to feel. In most cases, finding the disease earlier offers more effective treatment options and a better chance of survival.
- There is no clear evidence that eating “super foods” – or any one type of food – can help prevent breast cancer. However, maintaining a healthier body weight by eating a variety of foods and smaller portions is a great way to reduce your risk.
- A glass of red wine may be good for the heart, but no amount of alcohol is good for your breasts. It’s not the type of alcohol that increases your risk of breast cancer, but how much you drink and how often (there goes that drink I was going to have with dinner).
- Both smoking and second-hand smoke have been linked to breast cancer. Quitting can be hard but two days without a cigarette can leave your body nicotine-free.
- Taking synthetic hormones like those found in combined birth control pills or combined hormone replacement therapies (with estrogen and progesterone) can increase your risk for breast cancer.
- Exposure to chemicals in our environment and in everyday products we use at home may increase our risk of breast cancer. Put your health first and choose simpler options when it comes to food, make-up and personal care products.
Click here to get your Breast Health Plan and 500 Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points (ends February 6th and points are awarded on Match 16th)
To get your points, click the collect your 500 Shoppers Optimum points image on the breast health plan shown below and enter your Optimum number