In October, we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness month because breast cancer is an increasing concern for Asian American women across the country. According to the American Cancer Society, the average risk that a woman in the United States will develop breast cancer sometime in her life is 12%. In 2017 alone, there will be over 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnoses and over 40,000 women will die from breast cancer. While breast cancer rates have declined in the general population over the last 25 years, Asian American women, specifically in California, have seen a steady increase in breast cancer diagnoses in the same period of time.
With breast cancer incidences increasing among Asian Americans, it is important to understand the inherent risk factors for breast cancer. Many of established risks can be impossible to avoid. For instance, simply being a woman is the biggest risk of breast cancer. Similarly to other forms of cancer, age increases risk as well, and since 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, family history and genetics are also established risks. However, there are some ways to exercise a control over your risk. The following are lifestyle changes which will help to lower your risk of breast cancer:
- Physical Activity: Moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk as well.
- Alcohol Consumption: Avoid alcohol or limit intake to one alcoholic drink per day (12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits).
- Diet Maintenance: A diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
So while breast cancer is a scary diagnosis for anyone, there are ways to help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Luckily there are many ways to treat breast cancer if diagnosed early, but it is important to take preventative measures as well. Check with your doctor about receiving a mammogram today, and begin taking steps to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.