In the coming month, you may notice that orange and black aren’t the only colors you see trending everywhere. You’ll likely see pink take over, too, and for a good reason: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States. This month, the color pink becomes more than just a girly shade. In October, pink is tough. It is strong. It works to honor survivors and raise awareness for a disease that has taken so much from so many people. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, SPIbelt has partnered with the Breast Cancer Resource Center, an Austin nonprofit staffed by breast cancer survivors that provides guidance, education, and assistance to thousands of women whose lives have been disrupted by breast cancer. Together, we’ve created the pink ribbon SPIbelt— $1 from each belt purchased will go towards helping the brave women fighting this terrible disease.
Breast cancer is the second most common form of Cancer in American women—so common, in fact, that one in eight women will be diagnosed in their lifetime. Keep reading to learn about how to assess your risk and help lower your chances of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.
How do I know if I’m at risk?
If you’re a living, breathing person, you’re at risk for getting breast cancer. Even men can get breast cancer, although their chances are much, much lower. There are, however, a number of things that increase your risk—some you can control, and some you can’t.
If someone in your immediate family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk of a similar diagnosis is almost twice as high as women without a family history of breast cancer.
Dense Breast Tissue
If a doctor has ever told you that your breast tissue is dense, meaning you have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, you’re more likely to get breast cancer.
If you’ve taken oral contraceptives for 5 or more years—even nonconsecutively—you have an increased risk of breast cancer.
You’re more likely to get breast cancer as you get older, and most women are diagnosed after they turn 50.
Studies show that for every one drink that you consume each day on average, your risk of breast cancer increases by 10%.
If you started your period before the age of 12, you’re more likely to get breast cancer.
Your risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is higher if you’ve never been pregnant or if you had your first child after your 30th birthday.
If you don’t get an average of 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week, you have an increased risk of breast cancer.
An inherited mutation, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, puts you at greater risk of a breast cancer diagnosis.
*This list is not a comprehensive representation of all breast cancer risk factors. To better assess your risk, please speak with your doctor or visit https://www.assessyourrisk.org.
How can I reduce my risk?
While there is no way to ensure that you will never receive a breast cancer diagnosis, there are a number of ways to reduce your risk.
Cut back on alcohol consumption.
Drinking less alcohol can lower your risk of breast cancer by 10% or more.
Get enough exercise.
30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week lowers the risk of breast cancer. Kill two birds with one stone with our new pink ribbon SPIbelt —you’ll be able to exercise hands-free, and we’ll donate $1 from each purchase to the Breast Cancer Research Center.
Know your family history.
Take inventory of your family history. If you have an immediate family member that has been diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will likely recommend that you begin getting yearly mammograms at a younger age than women without a family history of breast cancer.
Know your own normal so that you can recognize when symptoms arise— when they do, visit your doctor.
While there’s no sure way to prevent breast cancer, knowing your risk is the best way to take steps toward reducing the likelihood that you’ll receive a diagnosis. Know your body. Know your history. Talk to your healthcare provider. Be proactive about your health. This October, SPIbelt is partnering with the Breast Cancer Resource Center to fight back against breast cancer, and we hope you’ll join us.