Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer type for women and a leading cause of death in the United States. In 2017 alone, the American Cancer Society estimates that a staggering 250,000 new breast cancer cases were diagnosed in U.S. women. Additionally, the death rate was estimated to be over 40,000.
Early detection is a key factor in breast cancer treatment and survival and proactive efforts should be taken to recognize signs and symptoms. Regular self-examinations are important and should be implemented as a regular practice for women of all ages. Moreover, the American Cancer Society strongly recommends women receive mammogram imaging every one to two years, beginning at age 40.
While this cancer is not yet fully understood, it is important to incorporate healthier habits as a best practice toward prevention. Better food choices and exercise are beneficial changes that can contribute to overall health, well-being and longevity. Unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol in excess are highly discouraged and should be discontinued. A link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer has been found, as alcohol can raise estrogen levels—a known connection to breast cancer. It is worth noting that alcohol also suppresses the body’s ability to absorb folate, a vitamin crucial to cell construction. Smoking exposes the body to harmful carcinogens that cause irreversible damage to many tissues and organs, thus weakening the body’s immune system.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, it is estimated that at least twenty percent of all cancer cases are directly linked to obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary choices and risky habits. This would indicate that incorporating healthier choices is key in cancer prevention.
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