7 Ways to Keep Your Breasts Healthy

During Breast Cancer Awareness month this October I thought I would share an important article I found on the Women’s Health Magazine website on 7 ways to keep your breasts healthy. I’m trying to abide by all of these tips (although I’m not happy about number 3) and I’ve even recently applied for genetic testing as my mother had an aggressive breast cancer 15 years ago. She is a survivor thankfully. I had opted to not be tested when she was first diagnosed but genetic testing has advanced since then and now I want to know. These tips work for men as well. Don’t forget, men are not immune to breast cancer!

1. Stay at a healthy weight
Being heavy can increase your risk of developing the disease as well as reduce your risk of surviving it, says Harold Freeman, M.D., president and founder of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer and Prevention in New York City.

 

 

2. Break a sweat
Aim to exercise for 45 minutes to an hour five days a week. Regular fitness workouts may help prevent the disease by boosting immune function, warding off obesity, and lowering levels of estrogen and insulin.

 

 

3. Drink less alcohol
Research has shown that two drinks a day could increase breast cancer risk by 21 percent. Instead, try swapping wine for fresh grapes. Resveratrol, found in the skin of grapes, may help reduce your estrogen levels, which in turn may reduce your risk.

 

 

4. Eat your veggies
A low-fat diet can do a lot to reduce your risk, but for even more protection, add some cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, to your plate. They contain sulforaphane, which is believed to help prevent cancer cells from multiplying. For an extra dose of cancer-fighting power, eat them raw.

 

5. Know your family history
“In about 15 percent of breast cancer cases, there is a family history of the disease,” Freeman says. If you have one first-degree relative who had breast cancer, your lifetime risk doubles, and if you have two your risk increases five-fold.

 

 

6. Get checked
All women should have a clinical breast exam at least every three years and annual exams and mammograms starting at age 40. Women with a family history should begin screening 10 years prior to the family member’s age of diagnosis. Ask if the facility offers digital mammography–it allows for adjustments in contrast so the image can be easier to see. Young women at increased risk may also want to ask for either an MRI or a sonogram in addition to the mammogram.

7. Consider genetic testing
“When cancer strikes young women, it’s more likely to be connected to a BRCA mutation,” Mangino says. Two red flags for being a BRCA carrier: being of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent or having a family history of both breast and ovarian cancer. “If you have either of these factors, see a genetic counselor to talk about getting tested,” she says.

 

Stay healthy everybody and let’s kick cancer off the planet! Svaha!

 

 

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Body Image

I was out with Jacquie a couple of weeks ago and we got onto a topic that seems to get wayyyy too much airtime as far as I am concerned, but as women it’s hard not to talk about our Body Image’. We both agreed we would do almost anything humanly possible to prolong the aging, sagging and weight issues that contribute to our body image. But there has to be some balance when dealing with your mind, body and spirit.

I’d like to think I will grow old gracefully, without any surgical enhancements or help along the way. (excluding anything that doesn’t involve injecting or cutting my epidermis) I have always been athletic and lead a pretty healthy lifestyle that I think will help me along the path of aging. I would prefer to be like Diane Lane as apposed to Joan Rivers. I may be comparing apples to oranges here but you know what I am getting at, they are on opposite sides of the scale when it comes to obvious procedures. And yes the age difference is also there. In the past, Diane has reportedly said, “It scares the s**t out of me. And I don’t relish the thought of people staring at me, trying to figure out what I’ve had done.” She also said, “I reserve the right to change my mind. Absolutely. I’m a female, that comes first.” I love her attitude, never say never!

Jake and I were talking about our own body images while en route to a party downtown with a bunch of size 2’s. When we entered ‘the keefer‘ we were greeted by Keith, my girlfriends husband. There was a glass bottom pool in the ceiling which was amazing and a great conversation piece throughout the night. The first words out of Keith’s mouth were “your not allowed to swim naked in the pool it’s off limits!” He said it like he thought I might have actually considered it! Twenty years ago, a huge maybe, if I had been shooting Tequila. Now, couldn’t even visualize it in my wildest dreams!

I reconnected with a couple of handsome guys from 30 years ago, Cam and Marcus, within 15 minutes it felt like no time at all had passed, certainly not 30 years! After catching up briefly Cam asked me if I thought he had changed, and if it felt like I was talking to the same guy? He believed that people don’t really change all that much over the years and I had to agree. I still saw the same handsome guys who made me laugh 30 years before.

The conversation eventually led to the pool which was hard to take your eyes off. It was like having an enormous lit fish tank with no fish right above you. I felt like a voyeur checking to see if there was anyone brave enough to take a dip. We started joking about how much money it would take in order to strip down and take the plunge. (keep in mind the pool is above you and seemed magnified to me) The anti kept increasing until it got to be ridonculous. For me it basically came down to body image. There are also specific things I would not do for money and stripping down at 46 years old in public with the lights on is on that list, sex and marrying are two more. Jacquie joked that she would if she could escape through a trap door out the back and not have eye contact with anyone in the room and then have her and her family relocated, hilarious! I giggle every time I think of her coming home to Gavin and explaining how she made a huge wad of cash while out with me.

No matter what way you look at it we all have some kind of body image issues that creep back into our lives at any given moment, this was one of mine. These guys had seen my body really young, not naked but close enough, spandex were popular back then. It would be hard to top that! After the joking stopped Cam told me he remembered me having body issues at 17! It didn’t really shock me, what 17 year doesn’t have issues about their body. What bothered me most was that I am finally comfortable in my own skin, which I believe happened shortly after turning 40, yet I was still putting out the impression that I was not. Why?  I am a confident woman who embraces her sexuality. Maybe out of my comfort zone being single again, revisiting the past? Body image is hard to change for women but absolutely necessary if its negative.

So you see by joking about not wanting to be seen naked swimming in a glass bottom pool only attracted more attention to my enormous size 8-9-10 (depending on my salt intake). Men don’t notice our flaws or imperfections unless we point them out, so don’t point them out! I learnt a lesson that night, I would NEVER talk negative about my body again! It only sets you up for a false insecurity that you bring upon yourself. Embrace whatever body you have, regardless of your size or shape it really is what’s on the inside that counts. Believe me even those perfect size 2’s have body issues that need to be worked on.

PS ~ I just read my “Gusto Post Card” and this is what it said: ” You know how wise people reach a certain point in their lives and realize it actually doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of them? They just sort of grow beyond caring about that, and they start caring a lot more about what they think of themselves? And then they decide they’re going to do what they want to do and be who they want to be and live their lives as they see fit and love every second of it? Well, that wise person lives inside of you. Let that certain pivotal point in your life be today. Your number-one fan, Gusto  And oh…Be you. Live Fearlessly! Timing is Everything!!!!

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