What You Might Not Know About Moms and Breast Cancer
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/.Add a Comment