Protecting Yourself From Breast Cancer

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In Your 30s

What to Look Out For:

Family matters: "Be aware of the facts about breast cancer and your own family history," says Elizabeth Woolfe, director of information services for the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, in New York City. Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease. In fact, having a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer nearly doubles a woman's risk.

Pregnancy timing: Women who have their first child after age 30 (or have no children at all) have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.

What to Do:

Early screening: If you are at higher risk for breast cancer (for example, it runs in your family), discuss the possible advantages of early screening with your health-care practitioner.

Limit alcohol intake: With each glass of alcohol you consume, your risk rises.

Exercise: "Power walking for 20 minutes a day is a great way to reduce your risk," says Lillie Shockney, RN, director of education and research for the Johns Hopkins Breast Center in Baltimore. Recent studies show getting in good workouts when you're younger might provide life-long protection against breast cancer and that even moderate physical activity as an adult can lower risk for the disease.

Clinical breast exam (CBE): Get this as part of your regular checkup, about every three years.

Continued on page 3:  In Your 40s

 

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