With at least one in every eight women expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime, breasts can feel like two big (or in many cases, small) ticking time bombs on your chest.
It definitely doesn’t feel fair that two organs with one primary function (not the sexy one here, focus) can increase your chances of getting sick by so much. Like come on! We’re pretty much just holding them for a friend.
But it is what it is, and we’re stuck with these sensitive milk bags for a while, so we might as well try to make peace with them. Here are a few ways you can help to reduce your chances of developing breast cancer:
The researchers aren’t exactly sure just why, but so far comparative studies have shown that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast cancer than women who do not. They also found that the longer you breastfeed, the slimmer the chances of breast cancer become (you may also become slimmer too, like I did). So you can keep this in mind for the next time someone looks at you and your nursing three-year-old funny. You’re doing it for your you, too.
Of course breastfeeding for 100 years still won’t make you immune to cancer, and choosing or being unable to breastfeed does not mean you will get it. But if you’re weighing your baby’s dining options right now, add this to the ‘pro’ side for the boob buffet.
And do it often, too. More studies are needed to see exactly how this works too ( I volunteer!), but researchers say that women who get there often (for real, no faking) have less risk of breast cancer than those who don’t. They suspect it might be the hormone oxytocin (OT) that’s released during orgasm that helps to regulate hormonal activities in the breast. Get some extra O’s in for #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth!
3. Eat Right
You know I have to say this. And you know you’re as guilty as I am. I’m not saying you need to stop considering your kid’s leftovers and wine as a gourmet meal right now, but just promise me you’ll think about it for real this time, aite?
4. Stay in shape
Hey, don’t scroll away. I didn’t specify the shape! Whether you’re a cute cylinder, ravishing rhombus or a tempting little triangle, just ensure you stay active. You will know it’s time to get more active when you can’t lift up your youngest without special sound effects.
5. Feel yo’self
Your breasts, specifically. And if your feel anything strange, don’t be afraid to mention it to your OB/GYN at your next visit. Don’t be alarmed if there’s a lump, non-cancerous masses like fibroadenomas (which we’ll talk more about in my next post) are pretty common, especially in younger women. If you’re getting a little less young, you might also want to consider getting your annual mammogram at around 40, or earlier if breast cancer is in your family history.