Health Advocate Blog

Breast cancer: What you should know

Breast cancer can strike anyone, of any gender and any age, and whether or not there’s a family history of the disease. It’s important for you and your loved ones to visit your doctor and follow the measures below to keep healthy–it can even save a life!

Know the risks. Your doctor can help determine your personal risks. Be sure to let your physician know if a family member has or had breast cancer. Inform your physician if these family members or you have been found to carry genes related to breast cancer.

Be alert to changes. Tell your doctor about any changes you may see or feel in your breasts—including a lump, pain, discoloration, or anything else that concerns you.

Get screened. Ask your doctor about getting a mammogram, which helps detect cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage.

Adopt healthy lifestyle changes. There are no sure ways to prevent breast cancer, but making certain lifestyle changes may reduce your risk. Exercise regularly, eat a variety of nutritious foods, maintain a healthy weight, avoid or limit alcohol, and stop smoking.

More to keep in mind

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Most health insurance plans cover mammograms. However, for those who may have low incomes or are uninsured or underinsured, the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers free or low-cost mammograms. Find out if you qualify.