By April Autry
So it’s the month of boobs, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But what exactly are we supposed to be aware of?
And how does that translate into practical action? Raising money for the cause? Checking our own boobs? Getting a mammogram? Accompanying someone else to get theirs? Not wearing deodorant? Wearing pink?
While personally, I love dressing up in pink, there is so much more for us to do! The unfortunate news is 1 in 8 of us females in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in our lifetime. The good news, there are both ways to lower our risk AND to be screened (quicker a diagnosis, the better the outcomes).
First, let’s clear our minds of all the lies and myths that are out there regarding how we might get breast cancer:
Use of deodorants, antiperspirants, and/or shaving your pits will increase your risk - NO Medical evidence to support these claims (that have been around for waaayyy too long). Sure, you’re not supposed to wear
Don’t wear underwire bras - sure you can. Wear whatever type of bra you like. Or don’t. Our advice - make sure if fits properly and is comfortable. Just a general boob comfort rule. :)
Breast implants - irregardless of the type (silicone, saline or other) thats in there, you have no more risk than someone who hasn’t had anything added in there. However, you should give your screener a heads up that the implants are in there - so as to get the best photos and thus, best screening.
Abortion - Having a termination, for whatever reason does not AT ALL affect your chances of developing breast cancer. Any person that tells you otherwise has NO scientific or clinical evidence to support this. NONE.
So what CAN we do to reduce our risk?
Get to know your own chest landscape. Well. - If you know what your breasts normally look and feel like, if you notice any changes in appearance, lumps, discomfort, nipple discharge, or anything else, you should report these to your health care provider. Also consider making it part of sexy time, between you and partner and let them take part in the (ideally monthly) assessment.
Lifestyle changes. Ladies who exercise, are a healthy weight, don’t smoke or binge drink can not only make you generally healthier but also specifically lower our risk of breast cancer.
Screening While screening guidelines are varied (from age to frequency to method), the best thing you can do here is have a conversation with your healthcare provider about your family history, what screening test is best, when it should start, and benefits and possible harms. Like with anything you discuss with your provider you should have a significant role in the decision making process - helping to decide together, what is best for you.
And finally, keep in mind, when it comes to your cleavage - mammogram is more important than Instagram!
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