Ways to Maximise the Health of your Breasts
What we put in our bras deserves some attention. Breast health is imperative; and breast cancer is not only a very common women’s cancer, but a big fear for most women from middle age.
Here are some tips for maximising breast health for a long life and plenty of wellbeing…
- Maintain a Healthy Weight – being overweight has been shown to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. This may be because fat cells store oestrogen, a natural hormone which at high levels contributes to breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.
- Regular Exercise – boosts immune function, prevents obesity, and lowers levels of insulin and oestrogen in the blood.
- Moderate alcohol consumption – medical research has found that as few as two alcoholic drinks per day can increase breast cancer risk by more than twenty percent. Ironically, fresh grapes (which wine is made from) can potentially reduce the risks by lowering oestrogen levels. Drink in moderation and don’t have alcohol every day.
- Enjoy a low fat, vegetable-rich diet – particularly broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
- Drink green tea – in particular, matcha Japanese green tea. It contains very high levels of antioxidants which fight inflammation in the body and may prevent the development of cancer.
- Be aware of your family history – up to fifteen percent of breast cancers may be genetic. A mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer or ovarian cancer doubles your own risk, and more than one of these with cancer of the breast or ovary increases personal risk fivefold. If you are of Eastern European Jewish descent or have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, see your doctor about genetic testing.
- Use HRT with Care – consult with your GP about the optimal time period for HRT use for its benefits and without risk. Additionally, if you use hormonal contraception, use the lowest dose you can.
- Practice Self Examination – every woman, from age twenty, should get to know her own breasts and what is normal for her. Lumpiness and soreness may be normal for many women, and as long as nothing changes and no new lumps, soreness, or issues such as dimpling, redness, itching or nipple discharge occur, are usually of no concern. Any changes or concerns at all, see your GP.
- Attend for Breast Screening – Australian guidelines suggest women have mammograms for screening every two years between the ages of fifty and seventy four. Younger women from age forty are welcome to have screening if they wish, however mammogram is not as effective in younger women with dense breast tissue.
Additionally, make sure your breasts feel good by wearing a correctly fitted, good quality bra. Massage your breasts in the shower from time to time, and sleep without a bra. If you prefer some support or coverage while sleeping, choose a crop top. Always wear a sports bra while exercising to offer extra protection.