Happy October, everyone! October is Breast Cancer Awareness month here in Australia. When was the last time you've given your breasts some much needed attention? Taking good care of our breasts is essential for maintaining optimal health.
Breast cancer is known to be the most commonly occurring cancer in women. Although breast cancer is a lot less common in men, it's important to note that men can also develop breast cancer . Cancer Australia estimates a total of 17,586 females and 144 males to be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of this year (2017), across Australia . With the chances of developing breast cancer being high, we recognise the urgent need to raise further awareness about this condition - which is why at Huxbaby, we've decided to gather some useful self-care tips that are essential for maintaining healthy breasts and reducing the risks of cancer.
TIP 1 | Be aware of physical changes in/on one or both breasts, such as:
- New lump or lumpiness (especially if it's only in one breast)
- Change in the shape/size
- Change to the nipple (e.g. crusting, ulcer, redness, inversion)
- Nipple discharge (even without squeezing or force)
- Change in the skin of breast (e.g. redness, dimpling)
- Unusual pain that doesn't go away 
TIP 2 | Be aware of possible risk factors
*Please note, everyone is different and risk factors will affect each individual differently
- Unfortunately, being a woman is considered to be the biggest risk factor when it comes to breast cancer - which indicates the need for ALL women to be wary of their breast health.
- The risk of developing breast cancer increases as women grow older; studies have found 3/4 breast cancer diagnoses occur in women over the age of 50 (usually after menopause).
- Luckily, 90-95% of all breast cancers do not relate to family history; this, by no means, reduces one's need to take care of their breasts and have regular medical check-ups.
- Inheriting a faulty gene increases the chances of developing breast cancer; studies show 5-10% of breast cancer occur in those who have a family history of gene mutation (namely, BRCA1 and BRCA2).
- Women who are overweight/obese hold a higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer, especially after menopause; having excess amount of fat tissues commonly means the body has a high level of oestrogen, creating an ideal environment for cancerous cells to grow in.
- It's highly recommended that women reduce their intake of alcohol; alcohol is known to limit the liver's ability to control one's level of oestrogen in the blood - a factor that can increase risks of breast cancer.
- Toxins from cigarettes have been found in breast cells, indicating the potential risks smoking can have in breasts; smoking has also been linked to major issues in the heart and lungs, making it very clear why smoking should be avoided.
- Women with a history of certain breast conditions in the past (or present) may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
- Having had radiation in the past as part of treatment for cancer (other than breast cancer), may significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
- Compared to women who have given birth before age 30, those who have not yet had a full-term pregnancy or who have their first child after age 30, have a higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Girls who start menstruating at an age younger than 12 have a higher risk of developing breast cancer; women who go through menopause past age 55, also have a greater risk.
- Studies have found hormone-related drugs, such as the contraceptive pill, increases the likelihood of women developing breast cancer when taken for a prolonged period of time .
TIP 3 | Adopt positive lifestyle changes to help reduce risks
*Disclaimer: these changes do not guarantee a total prevention of breast cancer, but they will be beneficial for general wellbeing
- Incorporate regular exercise; the key to staying active is finding an exercise you really enjoy (even a light walk around the neighbourhood is great!).
- Eat a consistent diet of nutritious, wholesome foods; prioritise your intake of fruit and veggies, and avoid processed foods.
- Reduce your intake of alcohol; it's encouraged to limit yourself to no more than two (2) standard drinks a day.
- Avoid smoking.
- Drink plenty of water (ideally, 2L per day); if you haven't got into the habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day, gradually increase your intake by a cup or two each day  .
- Prioritise sleep; it is commonly recommended that everyone get in a minimum of 8 hours each night.
- Don't forget to look after your emotional health too (you may not have realised, but emotional health is just as important as your physical health); smile, laugh a lot, and try to find the positives in life!
Join us this month in raising breast cancer awareness. Feel free to share this entry with your friends and family too!