October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Besides serving as an all-important reminder for both men and women to be proactive regarding their breast health, this special month also highlights the benefits of being vigilant in all aspects of well-being, year-round.
There are several ways to improve one’s breast health, including undergoing annual thermography, regularly exercising, knowing your family health history, watching what you eat, and not smoking.
1. Get an annual computer regulation thermography.
A non-invasive alternative to a mammogram, thermography is another breast screening procedure—minus the radiation. It utilizes a thermal imaging camera to help detect the early stages of breast cancer.
Scientist and researcher social networking site ResearchGate published a report examining the effectiveness of the thermography, titled “Breast Cancer Detection and Classification Using Thermography: A Review.” It concludes: “The thermogram was more proper screening than other types of screening methods such as the mammogram, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging.”
A thermography is also used to check the entire body and its organs for other anomalies, including digestive issues, immune system and nervous system disorders, heart disease, blood clots and dental problems.
2. Know your family health history.
It’s important to not only keep up with your health through routine checkups, but to also be aware of your family health history, as it could reveal if you’re at risk of developing a certain disorder or disease. This includes breast cancer, as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, and other cancers and conditions.
3. Make exercise a priority.
While many people know that exercising on a regular basis is important for their overall health—i.e., maintaining a healthy weight, which could lower the risk of heart disease and other disorders—they may not necessarily think that breast health is included.
"...staying within a healthy weight range can also strengthen your immune system and balance your hormones, which affects breast health."
As the nonprofit American Cancer Society points out: “How exercising lowers breast cancer risk is not fully understood. It’s thought that physical activity regulates hormones including estrogen and insulin, which can fuel breast cancer growth.”
Furthermore, staying within a healthy weight range can also strengthen your immune system and balance your hormones, which affects breast health. Walking, bicycling and yoga are just some forms of exercise to consider.
4. Watch what you eat.
Research suggests that diet plays a role in breast cancer risk. Peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ published a study in January 2018 that found a connection between "ultra-processed foods" and breast cancer. It included 104,980 adult participants. About 21.7 percent were male and 78.3 percent were female, with a median age of 42.8.
The study found "a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer," although more research should be performed. Sugary products and drinks, as well as starchy foods and breakfast cereals, and ultra-processed fruits and vegetables, seemed to exhibit the strongest link to breast cancer risk.
5. Refrain from smoking.
Most people are aware that there are no health benefits to smoking tobacco products. According to the nonprofit Breastcancer.org: "Smoking causes a number of diseases and is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women. Research also has shown that there may be link between very heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women."