If you are a Canadian millennial, you may not realize the breast cancer risk you’re currently facing. Sure, you might see your older family members worrying about the disease, or even coping with it, but breast cancer affects younger women too. Actually, the National Cancer Institute has reported a steady increase of 2% per year for younger women with advanced breast cancer cases. While the disease still predominantly occurs in older women, these numbers are showing that millennials have good reason to be concerned about this disease and seeking ways to prevent it.
Ways You Can Reduce Your Risk of Developing Breast Cancer
The best way to reduce your risk for cancer and improve your overall health is to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. It really is the best thing you can do to help decrease your risk of cancer, according to Cancer Org. They recommend adults do 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity each week and to drink in moderation. There is known links to alcohol consumption and an increased risk of developing many types of cancer.
We all know family history plays a large factor in determining how susceptible you are to cancer. So, if you have the whole healthy lifestyle thing figured out, but still want to know your risks, talk to your doctor about genetic testing. This process detects mutations in your BRCA genes that raise your risk. The CCS provides information and recommendations about cancer screenings and early detection here. Unless you have a family history of breast cancer, you won’t be able to get tested for genetic mutations because only around 10% of breast cancer is known to be linked to genetics.
A large-scale French study from 2002 confirmed that reproductive health factors into an increased chance of developing breast cancer. Things like starting your period early, having few kids, having no kids or even having kids later in life can contribute to your risk of developing cancer later in life. Only you can make decisions about your family life and reproductive habits, but it is always good to know what risks may be associated with those decisions. Breastfeeding can reduce one’s risk.
Simple measures like self-exams can help catch a lump early. While there is controversy around self-examinations and they aren’t guaranteed to help with early detection, there is still no hurt in conducting them. By knowing how your healthy breast tissue feels, it can help you detect when something unusual shows up. Learning about breast density can also help! Breasts that have denser tissue make breast cancer easier to go unnoticed during a mammogram. The bottom line is…the more you know about the girls’ now, the better!
As millennials, it is important to be informed of the symptoms and characteristics of this disease and its associated risks before it is too late.