Health advocates in New Hampshire want to ensure younger women know the potential risk factors for breast cancer, the second most commoncancer among women in the nation.
Some of those risk factors are unavoidable, such as getting older or a family history with the disease, but studies show a healthy diet and regular exercise can help prevent breast cancer or improve prognosis outcomes.
Kristen Sullivan, director of prevention and survivorship for the American Cancer Society, said it is important for women to share their medical history with their doctor to determine when cancer screenings should begin.
“Many people think there’s maybe something wrong or, ‘I feel something but I’m only in my 20s so I don’t really need to do anything about it,'” Sullivan explained. “But we really encourage even young women, if there’s any change at all, to have a doctor check it out.”
Sullivan pointed out breast cancer is more treatable and survivable than ever before and women have the option of scheduling yearly mammograms starting at age forty.
Research shows drinking alcohol also increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, even in small amounts. Teenagers who regularly consume alcohol are at risk of developing benign breast lumps, which can lead to health issues later in life.
Sullivan noted while the risks of alcohol are known, it can be a hard message for many young people to hear.
“We recommend that for optimal cancer prevention that people do not drink alcohol,” Sullivan emphasized. “But if they do choose to drink, women should have no more than one drink a day and men should have no more than two.”
Sullivan added National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great time to learn more about breast cancer risk and prevention, and get to active.
The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event takes place this Sunday in Concord.
This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.