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Cancer Awareness Series: Be Your "Breast" Self

LISTEN. I know most of you girls reading are thinking: “Chill, Carolyn, I’m only in my 20’s! I’m not going to get breast cancer!” And while it may be true that it is more common for women aged 50 and over to be diagnosed with breast cancer, it is still not impossible to be diagnosed at a younger age.

There are many different things that can cause breast cancer. Many of these factors are unavoidable, but there are still many things you can do to keep yourself (and the girls) healthy!


Breast Self Exams

Knowing your body is important! Breast self examinations are key since the most common presenting sign of breast cancer is a painless mass, which usually arises in the upper outer quadrant of the breast. It’s important to watch out for other signs such as swelling, dimpling and breast distortion.

Make it part of your routine to quickly check your breasts for lumps and masses that may be unfamiliar to you!

Click here for a great video on how to effectively perform breast self examinations and what exactly to look out for!


Know Your Family History

Genetics play a large role in a women’s predisposition to breast cancer. If you have family history of breast cancer it would be smart to set up an appointment to discuss it with your family physician and even a genetic councillor.


Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

A diet high in fat, as well as an increased BMI are also factors that can increase your risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Make sure to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet and ensure you’re getting enough exercise!

If you need some tips on healthy eating, check out my last blog “Meal-Prep and Chill: A Student’s Guide To Healthy Eating” or any of the healthy eating tips on the Campus Rec blog as well!


Birth Control

The oral contraceptive pill is also commonly associated with a breast cancer diagnosis. Talk to your doctor if you feel that you would rather try alternative methods of birth control!


Be Mindful Of Your Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption is known to cause many different types of cancer, including breast cancer. Now don’t get me wrong, theres nothing bad about having some beer or wine! Just make sure you are aware of the amount of alcohol you are consuming.


Don’t Ignore The Signs!

Delays in diagnosing breast cancer is a major issue. Many young women ignore the warning signs
(like a breast lump) because they think they are too young to get breast cancer. You can never be too sure! If you find any changes in your breast tissue or feel any lumps, it never hurts to ask your doctor about it.

Although your chances of being diagnosed with cancer in your 20’s are rare, keeping these things in mind will help you catch breast cancer in its early stages as well as reduce your chances of being diagnosed at all. It’s never too early to form new and healthy habits!