6 Ways You Can Prevent Breast Cancer

By Shannon Gurnee
In Health
October 28, 2014


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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Hanes is teaming up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) to help generate create breast cancer awareness.  The brand will also be donating $50,000 to the NBCF.  I’m so happy I have the opportunity to share ways to prevent this horrible disease!  I’ve seen family and friends suffer from it and know how horrible it is.  The good news is that it is preventable!  That’s right ladies, we can prevent it!  Here are 6 ways you can prevent breast cancer.

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1 – Know the Symptoms and Signs of Breast Cancer.  One of the easiest ways to prevent breast cancer is to know what the signs and symptoms are.  It may be the discovery of a new lump or a change in the breast tissue or skin.  If you discover any type of abnormality, be sure to visit your healthcare professional right away.  These signs or symptoms do not necessarily mean you have breast cancer, but be sure to have it checked out so you know for sure.  Symptoms can include (1) a change in how the breast or nipple feels; (2) a change in the breast or nipple appearance; or (3) any nipple discharge (particularly clear discharge or bloody discharge).

2 – Perform a Breast Self-Exam at least once a month.  Johns Hopkins Medical Center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”  While mammograms help detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams are important because they help you get familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.  A Breast Self-Exam can be done in the shower, in front of a mirror or lying down.

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3 – Visit your doctor for a Clinic Breast Exam.  A clinical breast exam will be performed by a qualified nurse or doctor and will most likely be done during your annual exam.  He or she will check for lumps or other physical changes in the breast that my need to be investigated.  Your healthcare provider will check your breasts’ appearance and you may be asked to raise your arms over your head, let them hang by your sides, or press your hands against your hips.  These different postures will allow your healthcare provider to look for differences in size or shape between your breasts.  The skin covering your breasts will be checked for any rash, dimpling, or other abnormal signs and the nipples may be checked to see if fluid is expressed when lightly squeezed.

4 – Get a mammogram every 1 or 2 years starting around age 40.  A mammogram is an x-ray that allows a qualified specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas.  The breast is exposed to a small dose of iodizing radiation that produces an image of the breast tissue.  Mammograms are done because they can show a breast lump before it can be felt.  They can also show tiny clusters of calcium called microcalcifications.  These lumps or specks can be caused by cancer, fatty cells, or other conditions like cysts.  If any abnormalities are found, further tests will be conducted, such as an ultrasound or MRI.  If further tests show the mass to be solid, your radiologist may recommend a biopsy, which is a procedure in which cells are removed from a suspicious area to check for the presence of cancer.

5 – Have an Early Detection Plan.  An Early Detection Plan enables you to be proactive about your health by reminding you to do monthly breast self-exams and schedule clinical breast exams and mammograms.  The earlier abnormalities are found, the greater possibility there is for successful treatment.  When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 98%!  An Early Detection Plan includes performing monthly breast self-exams, visiting your doctor for scheduled clinical breast exams and following your healthcare provider’s recommendations for mammograms. 

6 – Establish Healthy Habits.  Leading a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce your risk factors for breast cancer.  Healthy habits include (1) maintaining a healthy weight; (2) staying physically active; (3) eating fruits and vegetables; (4) not smoking; and (5) limiting alcohol consumption.

How do you prevent breast cancer in your life?  
Do you have a personal story of someone who was affected by breast cancer? 

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are mine.

About Has 2168 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

68 Responses to “6 Ways You Can Prevent Breast Cancer”

  1. Jen Frederick says:

    Great information and a reminder I need to get my mammogram. Both my grandmas had breast cancer, so I know the importance of preventative care and early detection, but I still tend to procrastinate.

  2. Amy says:

    Thank you for caring enough to write this post. However, five of your six “prevention” items are about detection, not prevention. Further, monthly breast self-exams are no longer recommended, because they don’t help (based on scientific studies, also known as evidence based medicine). It’s true many tumors are found by women or their partners, but they aren’t all doing bse, and it has no effect on outcomes. Mammography has its own issues, including radiation exposure, false positives, and false negatives. It doesn’t do a good job of detecting cancer in dense breasts, which can lead to a false sense of security.

    I would respectfully suggest that in discussing this issue in the future you carefully distinguish between detection and prevention. Although it seems reasonable that if breast cancer is caught early it will be curable, unfortunately that isn’t always the case. In fact, some studies show that routine screening of healthy women has no effect whatsoever on the overall mortality rate from breast cancer, which is the most important criterion. I personally know of women who were first diagnosed and treated at “stage 0” (ductal carcinoma in situ) who later died of breast cancer.

    The truth is we don’t know what causes breast cancer, so it follows that we also don’t know for sure how to prevent it. More importantly we don’t know what causes metastasis, and once the cancer metastasizes it is incurable and close to 100% fatal. We don’t know how to stop it. The biggest risk factors for getting breast cancer are being female and getting older; things that can’t be altered. However, your suggestion #6 is all-around good advice for staying healthy and preventing many dangerous diseases and conditions, and it is true that certain lifestyle factors can increase cancer risk, including breast cancer. So your sixth suggestion does factor into prevention, although it is no guaranty. I have followed all that advice all my life. I also started having babies at a young age and breast fed them. There was no history of breast cancer in my family. I got breast cancer anyway.

    Here’s a link to some important and accurate information about breast cancer: http://mbcn.org/developing-awareness/category/13-things-everyone-should-know-about-metastatic-breast-cancer

    • sherry Wingett says:

      My mother died with breast cancer. I am very scared I do all the things they tell me to do. Can you help me?

  3. Carol says:

    The title of the article is misleading. Doing self-exams, knowing symptoms, getting a mammogram, while all are important in good breast health, do nothing to “prevent” breast cancer.

  4. Gaby says:

    As a breast cancer survivor your article falsely states that by doing the things you mention one can PREVENT breast cancer. That is not true- one can possibly find cancer in an early stage rather than late stage. Mammograms and breast exams do not prevent cancer, they increase your chances of survival if done routinely and if a cancer is present it can be found early.
    I did everything on your list and my cancer was found via a routine mammogram. It was caught early .

    Thanks for the good tips though!

    • Auslene Simon says:

      I hope you get better. I pray for everyone because I believe in God. When even doctors cannot do anything, God can. We have to trust and believe.

  5. Elizabeth Morales says:

    I was diagnosis with breast cancer last month, both breast.. the only thing I didn’t do yearly was the mammogram, however even a month sooner when I had my well woman check up, the doctor did not feel the upper tumor, and as I did my own check I really didn’t know what I was trying to feel, but there it was, almost 2cm long. Cancer is going to hit you if your the one… I have never smoke, I don’t drink… and I now have breast cancer on both…

    • Auslene Simon says:

      I hope that you get better. I pray for everyone because I believe in God. when even doctors cannot do anything, God can. We have to trust and believe.

  6. Patricia Hawkins says:

    The things you have mentioned are ways to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. You claim these are 6 ways to prevent breast cancer. This is misleading because many women do all these things and still wind up with this horrible disease.

    • Patricia Hawkins says:

      The things you have mentioned are ways to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. You claim these are 6 ways to prevent breast cancer. This is misleading because many women do all these things and still wind up with this horrible disease.

  7. What a great post with great information. I think being vigilant about your health is super important. We often get busy and put it off, but it’s important to be in tune with our bodies.

  8. Kungphoo says:

    Those are very good tips.. i will pass them onto my wife.. She should start to take notice.

  9. courtney says:

    Great info!!!!! Just like a lot of diseases if you check for signs early… Usually we can fight these things and win πŸ˜‰

  10. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I do monthly checks and I just had my physical 2 weeks ago & I am a-okay for now.

  11. Taylor says:

    This is so important. Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family but my doctor still checks me every year!

  12. Women don’t realize how important it is to get annual mammograms, and if you have a family history, or carry the BRAC gene, your insurace will most likely cover them starting at age 35.

  13. Erica Brooks says:

    Smart advice. I make sure to keep up with mammograms and work on living a healthy lifestyle.

  14. Pam says:

    One of my close relatives suffered from breath cancer. Knowing the signs and getting mammograms regularly is now very important to me.

  15. michele d says:

    Great tips about preventing this not so kind of cancer. Thoughts and prayer going to those who are suffering or have been.. Terrible…

  16. rochkirstin says:

    Does breast cancer affect those young women as well? I thought mammograms are only for those who already had children.

  17. You know what they say: an ounce of prevention…. Great sound advice. Thanks.

  18. I get checked regular and I am good to go. My mom just got checked to and she was fine, so we are blessed!

  19. Elizabeth O. says:

    Check and check and finally be healthy. That’s it.

  20. Liz Mays says:

    I’m overdue for another mammogram. I really, really need to schedule one. My mom had breast cancer so there’s extra risk for me.

  21. and here I am thinking – it has to be at least a year didn’t know it has to be a monthly check.

  22. Great reminder that I haven’t had mine this year yet! Early detection is important!

  23. THANK YOU for sharing this!!! Great information.

  24. Char says:

    Does anyone have information on the breast ultrasound? I hear it is much safer than a mammogram and can be better at detecting cancer in dense tissue breasts. I have dense tissue breast and heard detection is more difficult.

  25. myrabev says:

    Breast cancer and cancer of any kind are horrible diseases but its good to know we can do something to try prevent it but nobody truly knows how and why some women who practice what you have mentioned still get breast cancer. I agree we should exam ourselves more often, earlier detection can help prevent its spread

  26. Catherine S says:

    Thank you for the great tips. I need to schedule my next checkup thanks for the reminder.

  27. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    This such important information to get out there. I have had a mammogram and although it was uncomfortable it was not painful. Not what i was expecting after hearing some stories from others that have had one.

  28. Debra says:

    Monthly self-checks are a must. Once a year exams with my doctor are also a must-do!

  29. Lynndee says:

    We don’t have a history of breast cancer in the family. But I do monthly self-exam and as per my doctor, I will have my mammogram at age 40.

  30. Rebecca Swenor says:

    This is a great cause indeed. I love the 6 tips to prevent breast cancer. It is so important to do self exams monthly and this goes for men too. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Jaime says:

    My friend was diagnosed with breast cancer about 3 months after the birth of her daughter. It was a tough time for her, but she fought it and is currently in remission. It’s such an awful disease.

  32. Stefany says:

    Breast self exams are so important. I don’t personally have a connection but I do have friends that have had breast cancer and it is something I think about often.

  33. Debbie Denny says:

    Good advice. Something every woman needs to consider.

  34. Great information, and it is important to get checked regularly & more importantly check yourself. I know someone who although she had yearly examines, a year lately she has a massive growth. We need to proactive in our health, so thanks for the reminders

  35. Tracey says:

    Thank so you so much for being so brave to share this post. It is going to help a lot of people.

  36. Kathy says:

    I am nearing the age of having regular mamagrams. My grandmother had a lump removed, but she is the only one in my family who has. We are lucky.

  37. These are very helpful tips! These are so important to remember. Thank you.

  38. XmasDolly says:

    My mother had breast cancer in 1961, and they removed her breast and a muscle under her arm, but they did get all the Cancer. Believe me I do all of the above religiously.

  39. Jeanine says:

    Great tips! Breast cancer is so scary and is so very common anymore it seems. Being checked and staying on top of it is so important!

  40. Nile says:

    While breast cancer is important, another big one for women is ovarian cancer. Also, men SHOULD also check their chest area too as there have been some cases of men having breast cancer too.

  41. Christie says:

    Breast cancer is so common these days. It’s so important to know your body!

  42. Camesha says:

    These are all great tips. I used to have a door hang for my shower that hung on the shower head. It had a diagram of how to do a breast exam. I couldn’t forget my exam because it was in my face every morning.

  43. Juliana RW says:

    Thank you for the tips. They are really good information.

  44. This is something every woman should know. Thank you for sharing this!

  45. Laura says:

    These are wonderful tips for early detection. It is very important to stay on top of your health.

  46. Amby Felix says:

    These are all great tips for prevention! I hope one day it will be something no woman has to worry about anymore!

  47. Thanks for the reminders. It is so important to be aware!

  48. Early detection is key. Watching your weight and exercise is a great preventative. Another thing is opting for a lower carb ketogenic style diet. Cancer has hit many family members and friends in my life.

  49. Rosey says:

    It’s definitely important to get those exams when they’re due. Just because you don’t see or feel anything doesn’t mean there’s nothing there!

  50. Risa says:

    Thank you for this post. It’s nice to know that breastfeeding also helps reduce the risk of breast cancer and I’ve breastfed three kids so that will help! I will have to make sure that I do self exams once I am done breastfeeding to be sure I catch anything and I will also have to get annual exams.

  51. Hannah Staveley says:

    Very powerful post people with this are so brave.

  52. Estelle says:

    These tips are so important and life-saving. I used to be the editor-in-chief of the American Breast Cancer Guide and I’m a firm believer that educating ourselves is so important.

  53. Dawn says:

    Thanks for these wonderful tips! You can never be too careful.

  54. Chrysa says:

    What great tips on early detection. Thanks for sharing and it is great being informed.

  55. chrissy va says:

    Thank you for the great information. The more we know the more we are able to be aware of changes in our bodies that may signal a problem.

  56. Fi NΓ­ NeachtΓ‘in says:

    Good on your for raising awareness on breast cancer and how to prevent it or get it treated in time. I’ve started checking my breasts regularly now and thankfully I’ve not spotted anything out of the ordinary.

  57. Liz Mays says:

    I really, really need to get myself a mammogram. It’s been 3 years and I know it’s very important, especially since my mom had it.

    • Eileen says:

      I posted above for you to have your mammogram. Now I’m telling you GET YOUR ASS ON THE PHONE RIGHT THIS MINUTE AND MAKE THAT APPOINTMENT. Your life matters.

  58. Angela says:

    Sorry to say no matter how many exams you do Dr’s see what they want to.I was diagnosed with 3b invasive ducal carsinoma at 28. I went for years to numerous Dr’s everyone said its nothing your to young.In the end it was a plastic surgeon whom I had hired to get rid of the painful lump who informed me I had cancer.

  59. C. Morris says:

    Your 6 tips are great and I followed everyone of them since age 40 and I am the first in my family to have been diagnosedat age 66 @ the end of last month with Stage 1 cancer. My breast were dense and I was unable to feel the mass, the reason for every 6 month exams until a biopsy detected it. I learned that the regular exams are the prevention measures until detected to catch it early for longevity of life. I’ll have my lumpectomy next week. Leaning on my God, doctors & family.

  60. Nikole says:

    I have a discharge on my my breast. But I am so scared to tell anyone because it is just one symptom of the cancer.. Do I really have breast cancer? I only have a blood and the white thing discharge.

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