October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Following skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer. However, technology and treatments for breast cancer are improving, and we know more about how to help prevent the disease. Lower your risk of breast cancer by following these 10 steps:

1. Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight can cause a number of negative effects, including the risk of developing different cancers. This is true especially after menopause.

2. Stay physically active – Exercising regularly not only helps maintain a healthy weight, but women who are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.

3. Avoid too much alcohol – While moderate drinking can be good for the heart in older adults, drinking to any extent can increase the risk of breast cancer.

4. Choose to be smoke free – Smoking increases the risk of at least 15 different cancers, including breast cancer. There are also a number of other negative effects from smoking such as an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

5. Breastfeed – Not only does breastfeeding have great benefits for the child, but breastfeeding for a total of one year of more lowers the risk of breast cancer.

6. Avoid birth control pills – Avoiding birth control pills is more crucial as you get older and if you are a smoker. Although birth control has its pros and cons, taking the pill has a slight increase in risk of developing breast cancer.

7. Avoid post-menopausal hormones – These hormones increase the risk of developing breast cancer. If women do take these hormones, it’s best to do it for the shortest possible time.

8. Tamoxifen and Raloxifene for high risk women – Taking these prescription drugs can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in woman with a high risk. They are approved by the FDA for breast cancer prevention but do have side effects.

9. Find out your family history – It’s important to find out if you’ve had a family member with breast cancer, which could put you at an increased risk for developing the disease. Talk to your doctor to find out more.

10. Remember to get screened – Getting a mammogram saves lives. It can detect cancer early on, when it’s easier to treat. Regular mammograms typically should begin at age 40.

This month, take the time to take care of yourself to help prevent breast cancer. If you are in need of insurance, contact us today at 515-232-7060 or at www.knapptedesco.com for a free insurance quote!