Breast Cancer Awareness Month Ideas: 5 Things All Women Should Do
Breast cancer is a disease that affects more than 240,000 women and 2,100 men each year in the United States. Many of us know someone who has had breast cancer or we've had it ourselves. Taking measures is key to prevent and catch the condition in its early stages.
People wear pink ribbons and shirts each October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, there are some things women should do during this month to bring more attention to their health. We've compiled some Breast Cancer Awareness Month ideas that you can use to take care of yourself.
This article will discuss five things all women should do to spread awareness for breast cancer. Stay on top of your breast health and find changes right away so you know when to seek medical care.
1. Give Yourself a Breast Exam
You shouldn't wait for your yearly women's health appointment to get a breast exam. Examining your breasts yourself is a great way to notice problems before they become more serious. Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel will help you notice when something changes.
You should do a self-breast exam each month. The menstrual cycle doesn't affect these types of examinations. You can perform it at any time during the month.
There are many places you can do your breast exam.
In Front of the Mirror
Inspect your breasts while standing in front of a mirror. Look for changes in the following areas:
- Skin texture
- Nipple position
- Scaliness or redness of skin
- Nipple discharge
Once you've inspected your breasts, raise your arms above your head. Look for the above changes underneath your arms.
In the Shower
Most women like to perform their self-breast exams in the shower. That's because their breasts are relaxed and their skin is lubricated. Follow these steps if you choose to check your breasts in the shower:
- Lather both your hands with soap
- Raise one arm
- Use the tips of three fingers to move in a gentle, circular pattern around your breast
- Use light pressure to feel for unusual thickening or lumps
- Repeat on the other breast
Before bed is a great time to do your breast exam. Put a pillow underneath one of your shoulders while lying down. Place that arm above your head.
Move your fingertips around your breast using a circular pattern. Repeat these same steps on the other side.
2. Educate Yourself
Knowing when to get a mammogram is one of the best ways to take ownership of your health. Most women need to start getting mammograms once they turn 40.
They should schedule routine mammograms every one to two years. Your healthcare provider can give you better insight into how often you need to get a mammogram.
When You Should Get a Mammogram Before 40
Women under 40 should start getting mammograms early if they have breast cancer risks. Some of these risks can include:
- Family history
- Personal health history
- Dense breast tissue
- Poor diet
Even if you don't have any of the above risk factors, you need to start scheduling mammograms once you turn 40. Getting a routine mammogram is one of the easiest ways to detect breast cancer as early as possible.
3. Change Your Lifestyle
Being active and eating healthy foods is a proactive way to improve your lifestyle. Taking certain steps can not only reduce your risk of breast cancer but other diseases as well. Lifestyle medicine addresses chronic stress, physical activity, and nutrition.
Long-term stress can impact your health, lowering your immune system. Your stress hormones can affect anoikis, a process that prevents diseased cells from spreading and kills them.
Finding healthy ways to manage your stress is important for your physical and mental health. Removing the cause of your stress isn't always easy. Some ways you can lower your stress levels include:
- Connect with others
- Speak with a professional
Most people should exercise four to seven hours each week. Each exercise session doesn't have to be intense exercise. Different types of physical activity you can incorporate into your routine include:
Fueling your body with healthy foods is key to improving your health. Avoid eating high amounts of saturated fat. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Another thing to keep in mind is limiting your alcohol intake. Drinking high amounts of alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer and other health conditions.
4. Find an Accountability Buddy
Making major life changes can be a daunting task. An accountability partner can help you in many ways.
For example, if you're trying to work out more, it can be hard to stay motivated. Your accountability partner will be by your side throughout the entire process. They'll encourage you to get out and work out.
- Family members
- Your spouse
They can give you reminders to perform certain activities to meet your goals. They might come with you to your healthcare appointments if you're feeling nervous. Having someone by your side will make this time in your life much easier.
5. Prioritize Yourself
Many women spend most of their days caring for other people. Setting aside time for self-care can give your health a boost.
Self-care activities don't have to be complicated or take a long time. There are many ways you can focus on yourself, such as:
- Going for a 10-minute walk
- Read a chapter from your favorite book
- Having a cup of tea
- Talking to a friend on the phone
- Getting a haircut or massage
When you take better care of yourself, you can care for others in your life.
Explore Our Breast Cancer Awareness Month Ideas
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is much more than wearing bright colors. Talking about breast cancer and putting your health at the forefront is a great way to honor the holiday. We hope our Breast Cancer Awareness Month ideas give you a jumping-off point to help you get your health in order.
Choice MD is here to partner you with a healthcare provider in your area. Browse our directory of providers and schedule an appointment today.