October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many of us know of someone who has been affected by breast cancer as it is the most common cancer in women and more than 230,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United States as stated by the American Cancer Society.
It is important to recognize some symptoms of breast cancer. The most common symptom is the presence of a painless lump in the breast area. Less common symptoms include swelling, tenderness, skin irritation, redness, or nipple abnormalities which may include ulceration or discharge.
Factors that increase the risk of developing breast cancer include the onset of menstruation before age 12, menopause after the age of 55, not breastfeeding for at least one year, not having children, or having children after 30 years of age, and having a high body mass index.
Increased body weight in postmenopausal women who are not taking hormones increases the risk for developing breast cancer. The more fat cells you have, the higher your levels of estrogen in the postmenopausal period, when your ovaries are no longer producing estrogen. Moreover, overweight women have higher insulin levels, and insulin may promote breast tumors.
Nutrition Tips for Cancer Prevention:
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are great sources of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Antioxidants and phytochemicals play a role in cancer prevention. Carotenoids is a type of antioxidant that is found in red and yellow produce. Some examples of foods that contain carotenoids are carrots, pumpkin, winter squash, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and red sweet peppers. All dark green vegetables contain nutrients that protect against cancer. Good sources of dark green vegetables include spinach, asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale. An additional benefit to eating a well balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is that it promotes a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight will help you to decrease your risk of developing cancer. A helpful tip to remember is that the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more nutrients it contains; so pack your plate with colorful choices!
Be sure to mark your calendars for Running’s Ladies Night Event October 18th from 5-8pm! It is an awesome event supporting and promoting the fight against breast cancer!! Our radiologist Dr.Gwen Schaunaman will be at our clinic booth along with myself to visit and answer any questions about our 3D mammography and diagnostic testing we do here at the clinic. Be sure to stop by and say hello to us!