We need to talk about the risks of breast cancer because sadly, it’s too common. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. These statistics personally hit home for me in the past year. I walked with a dear friend and mentor, Dr. Daphne Bryan, on her breast cancer survivor journey. In April, Dr. Daphne had a virtual/live team for the Monument 10K. I joined her virtually and completed my 8th Monument 10K on her team. Along with our good friend and obesity doctor, Dr. Joynita Nicholson.
Her courageous journey is a reminder of why Breast Cancer Awareness month is important. In her honor, this October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to share a few breast cancer prevention tips with you.
💖 Know Your Risk Factors
We all probably know someone who has been impacted by breast cancer. That is because it is the most common cancer in women (other than skin cancer).As women, we are all at risk, but some people have higher risk factors.
The breast cancer gene mutation is passed down through families like any other trait, so it's important that you know your family history. If one of them was diagnosed with the disease then there's an increased risk for others in their immediate circle too - this includes fathers or brothers. Yes, men can get breast cancer, too. I have had male breast cancer patients throughout my career, so it is important for men to see your clinician to check any lumps in your breasts.
It’s also crucial to get annual screenings because there are other familial conditions that can increase your chances of getting breast cancer, including Lynch Syndrome. Knowing your family history is so important, but if you don't know your family history, this can be where the screening tools become even more useful.
One risk calculator I highly recommend was created by the National Cancer Institute, and it can be found here: https://bcrisktool.cancer.gov/
If you have a lifetime breast cancer risk of over 15%, you may need additional screenings and tests. Talk to your healthcare provider.
That may sound scary to you, but remember, it's just probability. It's not saying that you are going to get cancer. I'm a believer, and I believe that "by His stripes we are healed", and that we should pray for healing. However, I also feel that knowing your risks helps you to see if you need to take actions to intervene.
You can find what you need to know about breast cancer screen from self-exams to imaging like ultrasound and mammograms in the article I wrote for GoodRx.com.
Previously, I shared General Breast Cancer Risks & screening on IG Live. Catch the replay here:
💖 Decrease Your Risk Factors
The way to reduce your risk for breast cancer is not through changing who you are, but rather by changing your daily habits to help reduce physical and some environmental risk factors.
Eat Less Meat- Specifically, decreasing your meat consumption (red meat and processed meat) helps reduce breast cancer risk. In particular, the World Health Organization listed processed meats as carcinogens, cancer-causing agents. This association with carcinogens has been linked with breast cancer. Also, eating red meat more than once a week has been shown with this. Barbecue and grilled meats are associated with increased breast cancer risk.
Eat more veggies- Increase vegetable intake is associated with decreased cancer risk.
Exercise- Just 150 minutes of exercise per week decreases your risk of breast cancer by 12-27% and increases your chance of survival from breast cancer if you do get it!
Drink Less Alcohol- Aim to have <7 drinks a week to maintain your weight and decrease breast cancer risk.
Stress less- Chronic stress is toxic to the body because it stimulates the release of hormones, like cortisol, that promote inflammation.
Making one small change per week can reduce your breast cancer risk. Choose the type of behavior that is most comfortable for you and do it well, even if this means making some mistakes along the way! Remember to embrace self-compassion on your journey to identify what works best as we all work together against something which has such terrible consequences when left unchecked.
Last Breast Cancer Awareness Month I teamed up with several amazing breast cancer warriors to discuss how to decrease your risks on IG live.
Nutrition & Breast Cancer Risk with Dr. Aminah Keats
Fitness & Breast Cancer Risk with Ren Jones, Certified Fitness Traknee
Thriving with Mended Hope, Dr. Tiana’s Journey
I go hard during Breast Cancer Awareness month because:
💕Personally & professionally I’ve know too many people (women & men) who’ve been:
▪️Impacted by breast cancer…
▪️Are still impacted by breast cancer…
▪️Will be impacted by breast cancer.
🙏🏾My prayer is that none of us will be impacted by breast cancer. But if you are impacted by breast cancer you’ll be prepared and thrive.
To those who are on your breast cancer thriving journey, May you come through triumphantly 💝
In loving memory of the breast cancer warriors at rest.
💖 Embrace You Breast Cancer Resources
For more on your weight and breast cancer risk see the Embrace You Blog Post on
Obesity and Breast Cancer Risk: https://www.embraceyouweightloss.com/post/obesity-breast-cancer-risk
How Do I Prevent Breast Cancer Reoccurence on GoodRx By Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie
Join our free community Embrace You To Lasting Wellness & Weight-Loss Facebook Group for support on your wellness journey.