10 breast health tips

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here are ten tips every woman should know for better breast health, as recommended by Dr Carol-Ann Benn, a leading expert in breast cancer and head of the Breast Care Centre in Johannesburg.
 

  1. Seventy percent of all women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors, so don’t be complacent.
  2. No woman is entirely safe from breast cancer, but you can lower your risk by making sensible lifestyle changes - exercise, eat healthily, don’t smoke and lower your alcohol intake.
  3. Keep a close eye on your bra - it doesn’t just enhance your silhouette, it helps support your breasts.
  4. Examine your breasts at least once a month and if you are over 40, go for an annual mammogram, sonar and clinical examinations.
  5. You are exposed to more radiation from a shopping mall than you are from a mammogram.
  6. The general practitioner or GP is the first port of call for a patient. But the diagnosis of a breast problem should be made by a specialist radiologist in a radiology suite.
  7.  Breast cancer does not require emergency treatment. If diagnosed, take your time to investigate your options and fully understand your situation. Genetic sampling can assist to better target therapies.
  8. A multi-disciplinary care centre management approach to breast cancer is recommended. Seek advice and treatment options from a team of specialists.
  9. A woman can now get excellent breast cancer treatment from the public health care system without assistance from a medical scheme. The Helen Joseph Breast Care Clinic is a leading example.
  10. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of cancer surgery. It is usually a minimum benefit on most medical aids – and it’s safe.

(Novatis Oncology press release)

- (Health24, October 2011)

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