A Young Woman’s Guide to Breast Cancer Prevention

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There are several risk factors that increases a young woman’s chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer – and while the risk of developing the disease increases as we age, there are several preventive measures every young women can do to lessen her risk of getting breast cancer. Read on to know of the preventive measures that’ll help you protect yourself from the life-threatening disease.

1. Know Your Breasts

Various changes occur in a woman’s breasts throughout her lifetime – and with breast cancer being the leading cause of death in young women aging 15 to 34, it’s just important that you know about your breast health. Other than undergoing several breast cancer screening tests, you can also know more about your breast health by performing breast self-exams. Consult with your physician about the pros and cons of doing self-exams, and if possible, have your doctor teach or review the self-exam steps with you. Knowing how your breasts should feel will definitely help you detect any significant changes, such as lumps, in your breast area.

2. Learn Your Family History

According to health experts, young women with a family history of breast cancer have a higher risk of developing and acquiring the disease. If breast cancer does run in your family’s genes, make sure that you get tested for breast cancer in Singapore and disclose this information with your doctor so she can determine whether or not you’ll need a more rigorous breast cancer screening test and schedule.

3. Identify Your Risk Factors

While there’s no way to completely prevent breast cancer, experts believe that one can reduce their risk of getting the disease. Of course you won’t be able to change risk factors like age, genetics, family history or prior history of being diagnosed with breast cancer – but factors related with lifestyle like exercise, diet and alcohol consumption are within your control. Your best defence against breast cancer is to stay aware of your risk factors and take preventive steps to change the factors that you can control, along with undergoing regular breast cancer screening Singapore tests.

4. Understand the Hormonal Factors

Aside from the genetic and lifestyle factors, Singapore health experts explain that hormonal factors also plays a role in a woman’s health risk of having breast cancer. Some of the hormonal factors that could increase one’s breast cancer risk include early menstruation, late menopause, failure to complete pregnancy after 20 weeks, as well as undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Some studies also reveal that women exposed to prolonged or higher levels of oestrogen – those with greater number of menstrual cycles – are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

5. Stay Informed

One of the best things that young women can do when it comes to preventing or reducing their breast cancer risk is to learn about the disease’s grade, stage and treatment options available. Breast cancer is an area with fast-growing research, and advancement on diagnosis and treatments. The more you know about these things, the better you can protect yourself from developing the disease – and the better armed you’ll be if you happen to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Some of the good online sources about breast cancer information are as follows:

• www.breastcancer.org
• www.facingourrisk.org
• www.youngsurvival.org

6. Prioritize Breast Screening Tests

Early breast cancer diagnosis is crucial to successfully treat the disease, which is why Singapore health experts recommend undergoing clinical breast exams as early as age 20, and yearly mammograms at age 40. If you have a family history of the disease or is considered high risk for some other reason, then it’s best to start undergoing screening tests earlier than the suggested age. For some, an MRI or a sonogram may be recommended. Younger women tend to have denser breast tissues, which makes it difficult to screen with a mammogram test.

7. Practise Persistence

Because most breast cancer incidence isn’t common in younger women, and only increases as a woman ages, doctors usually dismisses a young woman’s concern. Don’t let it end that way though. Young women should be persistent to get screened if they feel something wrong with their breasts. Even if you’re not feeling any out of the ordinary lump, but is experiencing nipple discharge or unexplained pain, do insist on getting checked (or simply find a doctor who will listen to your concerns).

8. Reach Out to Other Young Women

Being diagnosed with breast cancer in your 20s, 30s, and even in your 40s can be very isolating – but it shouldn’t be that way. Instead of feeling isolated, go online or ask your doctor for connections with other women your age who are also diagnosed with the same disease. Women with breast cancer are just amazing – they get connected by a common friend or a doctor, and they visit each other at home or accompany one another to their chemo sessions. It’s certainly a group you wouldn’t want to sign up for, but it’s a group that’ll make dealing with breast cancer as a young women much less difficult and lonely.

Just because you have certain risk factors for getting breast cancer doesn’t mean that you’ll really get it. After all, two of the biggest factors for developing the disease – aging and being female – aren’t something you can change. So instead of worrying about getting breast cancer, just do what you can to have a healthy lifestyle. You won’t just lessen your breast cancer risk, you’ll also feel better overall.

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