What You Might Not Know About Moms and Breast Cancer

This is a guest post by Marc Hurlbert, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Avon Foundation for Women and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade

Once your new baby arrives, it’s only natural to put baby’s needs and well-being ahead of your own. But you shouldn’t neglect your own health. In fact, new research funded by the Avon Foundation for Women finds women are at an increased risk for developing breast cancer for up to five years (or longer) after giving birth. During this time, women must pay attention to breast health and discuss with doctors any changes in their bodies, as well as their risk and screening options.

The new research on pregnancy-associated breast cancer was presented by Pepper Schedin, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, at the Avon Foundation’s 2011 Annual Breast Cancer Forum. The research team also confirmed prior research that showed women who undergo first full-term pregnancy before the age of 30 have a reduced risk of breast cancer later in life after menopause. This line of research seeks to better understand breast cancer risk and develop new ways to reduce risk and prevent the disease.

Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, which is why it’s essential to stay on top of your breast health. To help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer I’m outlining five easy things you can do, which are recommended by expert groups, such as Zero Breast Cancer and the American Cancer Society:

Five Steps to Reduce Your Risk

1. Maintain a healthy weight: check your weight and body mass index regularly to see if you need to lose any weight.

2. Participate in routine exercise: consider signing up for a “mommy and me,” workout class at your local gym or purchase a DVD you can do at home. 

3. Reduce alcohol consumption: studies show that women who drink excessive alcoholic beverages (2-5 daily) develop cancer at higher rates.

4. Do monthly self-examinations and keep a regular doctor’s appointment: consider making your annual check-up or mammogram when making your babies’ next doctor appointment.

5. Don’t smoke or quit now: long-term smoking has been associated with chances of developing the disease. If you quit for your pregnancy, continue to resist the urge to smoke.

If you’re looking to get involved with the cause, consider participating in one of the nine annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events. (The photo above is of the women who participated in last weekend’s walk in San Francisco.) The Walks raise life-savings funds for research and breast health medical care for women and men who can’t afford it. We have three walks left in 2011, and I’m pleased to offer a $20 registration discount for Parents.com readers. When registering at www.avonwalk.org, just enter the code “WALK1″ at checkout to receive the discount. The remaining 2011 walks include: Santa Barbara (September 17-18), New York (October 15-16) and Charlotte (October 22-23). I hope to see you at one of the upcoming Avon Walks!

For more information, support and resources from the Avon Foundation, download a free Breast Health Resource Guide in English or Spanish. To learn more about research funded by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, please visit www.avonfoundation.org/funding-and-grants/.

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  1. by peggy hurlbert

    On July 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Information that should be shared with all,,thank goodness we are getting more support and information to the medical professionals to better support breast health

  2. by Annmarie McDaniel

    On July 16, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Great article. Very informative….

  3. by amanda chambers

    On July 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    As a new and first time mom over 30 (yikes!), the info hit home….I will keep up with my exercise and doctors appointments and share with friends. Thanks for the great article, the author sure is a smart one!

  4. by diyan wiseman

    On July 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    any information should be shared by all, so glad it’s getting more and more reconized. Keep up the good work.

  5. by Milton Kays

    On July 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    A lot of great information and very well written. The information will give people a guide line to go by.

  6. by Donna O'Neil

    On July 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Thank you so much for this research/info.
    Every 3 mins a women is diagnosed is extraordinary!
    I will share this valuable with the women in my life. Especially those- new and soon to be mothers.
    Thanks, Avon. Always looking out for woman!

  7. by Maggie Reid Fallon

    On July 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Facts & a to do list! Perfect article to pass along…I know a couple busy moms ;)
    I’ll forward now-thanks!

  8. by Keely coco

    On July 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Great article! Thanks for all the info. I will forward to my mom friends!

  9. by Maureen Taylor

    On July 30, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Great article! Great things to know and inform my daughter about when she’s old enough! I would love to do a walk! So, if there are ever any in south FL, count me in!

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