How to take charge of your own breast health

1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Every women has to know how important regular checkups are for women in the battle against the disease. Breast cancer awareness is important for us Love Squad. So let's get a quick primer on how to take charge of your own breast health.

Be aware of your family history

See you ob-gyn regularly (at least 1 time per year). Your ob-gyn will walk you through your family history when you talk about breast cancer prevention, so please check on your family history before the appointment. Piece together a clear health history of both parents, three generations back, to figure out when to start imaging tests. Also note if other forms of cancers are involved such as colon, pancreatic, prostate and ovarian cancer. Side note: Knowledge is power to fight against breast cancer early on.

Breast Tissue Density and what you need to know

Especially younger women can have denser breasts (more glandular tissue than fat), which make it harder to spot cancer. So mammography is a great tool for spotting cancer in older women but for the younger ones this is not the best form to detect cancer. It's important to talk to your doctor about the best options and make sure to find the right one for you. You might have heard about 3-D mammography (also called tomosynthesis) which is able to collect multiple images of the breasts from different angles.

Ultrasounds, a radiation-free option during which breasts are put in a water bath, can determine if cysts are solid or water-filled which is extremely important as well. Thermography (digital infrared thermal imaging) is also radiation-free, but lacks the sensitivity and specificity of mammography. As you can see there’s no perfect breast imaging study. Most of the times you'll need a combination of techniques.

Take a Blood Test

A simple blood or saliva test can reveal a host of mutations. With an information like that you'll be able to proactively make decisions about their health. Let's say your doctor finds genes linked to cancer. Then you should talk with breast doctors to set up personalized screening plans tailored to their specific genetic variants. Don't forget: The more information you have, the more educated you can become about what is going on inside your body.

Measuring will help

Reduce your risk of breast cancer by changing your behavior. Self-awareness matters when it comes to breast cancer which is why you should have an eye on changes in breast size and shape as an important addition to the self-exam. Also be aware of links between obesity, which causes chronic inflammation, and cancer. It is never too late to start taking better care of yourself. Limited alcohol and staying active is also a big part of it.

If you are looking for more information about breast cancer awareness please check here.