October 11, 2012
Take This Breast Test
BY Adelina Espat
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to test your breast IQ. Find out how much you really know about what it takes to be on guard against this common disease.
Separate fact from fiction
Can you guess which of the statements below are true and which are false?
1. True or false? Breast cancer always comes in the form of a lump.
FALSE. Breast cancer in its earliest stages usually doesn't have any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, it's not always in the form of a lump. Be on the lookout for any of the signs below and report them to your doctor right away.
- Lump in your breast
- Swelling in or around your breast, collarbone or armpit
- Skin thickening or redness in or around your breast
- Breast warmth and itching
- Nipple changes or discharge
- Breast pain
2. True or false? If you have a male relative who's had breast cancer, you may be more likely to get breast cancer.
TRUE. You may be more likely to get breast cancer if you have a male relative who's had the disease. This is especially true if it's a close family member like a father, brother or son. If you fall in this group, talk to your doctor about genetic testing to find out if cancer runs in your family.
3. True or false? Maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your breast cancer risk low.
TRUE. Being overweight or obese -- especially after menopause -- may raise your cancer risks. To keep your cancer risk low, avoid weight gain by eating healthy foods and staying active. Stick with a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. And, try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your day.
4. True or false? Every woman should learn how to do a breast self-exam.
FALSE. Studies show that doing monthly breast self-exams isn't necessary.
Instead, it's more important to stay aware of how your breasts look and feel. If you notice changes, report them to your doctor without delay. This works just as well as doing a formal breast self-exam.
5. True or false? Drinking several glasses of alcohol a day can up your breast cancer risks.
TRUE. Having a glass of wine now and again is not bad for your health. But, drinking several glasses a day can up your breast cancer risks.
Play it safe by sticking to the recommended serving size. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women have no more than one drink per day and men have no more than two drinks per day.
If you didn't guess the right answers for all five statements or still have questions about your breast health, check out the latest issue of Focused on Health. You'll find out what your breast type means for your mammogram and how menopause affects your breast cancer risk.
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