During the month of October, you will probably see pink ribbons all over the place, symbolizing support for breast cancer research and awareness. Still, pinning a pink ribbon to your sweater won’t get you very far if you do not know the right steps for maintaining better health on a personal level. Breast cancer is a leading health concern for women, and contributing to awareness causes helps further research that could lead to a cure. However, there are many everyday tips that you might be overlooking by focusing only on the bigger picture of awareness with the pink ribbon. Here is a look at a few of the more practical health tips to remember for preventing breast cancer and managing a number of other health risks that women face.
Know your body
A former guideline for breast cancer prevention was to perform self-breast exams each month, but today the focus is more on knowing what is normal for your breasts. The fact is that most women don’t know exactly what to look for during a self-breast exam, but they will easily be able to feel or see any differences in their bodies. Don’t be afraid to spend some time in front of the mirror and get to know what is normal for you so that you are able to alert your doctor when something doesn’t seem right.
Get the right screenings
When it comes to actual screenings for breast cancer, mammograms are considered the gold standard. However, these don’t start until women reach the age of 40. For women who have not reached this benchmark, clinical breast exams should take place each year with the doctor. This exam will allow the doctor to feel for any strange lumps or lesions that might warrant further imaging. If you at the age where you need a mammogram and you are hesitant to have this screening, remember that technology has improved significantly to make the exam faster, safer, and less painful. It won’t be a walk in the park, but it will be over quickly. Plus, getting your first mammogram may be a great excuse to treat yourself afterwards with a massage or pedicure.
Be honest with your doctor
Looking through a broader scope at overall women’s health, a big problem is the embarrassment that comes with discussing some common women’s health problems. While it may seem like a big deal for you to discuss changes in your menstrual cycle, symptoms of a UTI, or pain during sexual intercourse, these symptoms won’t be a shock to your doctor. In fact, bringing them up in a blunt and forward manner can help you get the care you need now rather than suffering through more unpleasant symptoms that could get worse over time. For some conditions like UTIs or gastrointestinal illnesses, you might even feel more comfortable speaking with a doctor via telemedicine rather than in person.
Nourish your body
In the sense of prevention, one of the best things you can do for yourself is eat a healthy diet with your unique nutritional needs in mind. Eating a leaner diet rich in fish, antioxidant rich vegetables, and whole grains earlier in life can make the process of menopause much easier on your body. Plus, the lower weight you maintain with a diet like this will help you avoid the weight loss struggle that often comes with the big change.
Are you up to date on your health screenings? If not, see your doctor and share your women’s health concerns with us in the comments below.