Yes, it’s scary. Yes, you can beat it.
Breast cancer accounts for more than 1 in 4 cancers diagnosed among US woman. After skin cancer, it is the most common cancer and second cause of cancer death. While any woman is at risk, lesbian woman do have a higher prevalence for some of the risk factors.
For example, lesbians are more likely to use tobacco and alcohol. Additionally, lesbian woman are 10% more likely to be obese. All three of these factors are attributed to higher risk of breast cancer.
Medical studies have shown that the risk factor for women who give birth before the age of 30 is reduced by as much as 50%. Because many cases of breast cancer are diagnosed during visits regarding reproductive heath, lesbians that do not need birth control or who have not had children, miss this opportunity for early detection.
While there are never guarantees, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk factors and hopefully help prevent cancer.
How to beat the odds:
- Know your family history
- Maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise and a healthy diet that includes a variety of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Click here to view the top ten anti-oxidant rich fruits and veggies.
- Conduct regular self-breast exams. Click here for step by step instructions.
- Have a regular checkup and discuss with your physician appropriate screenings, such as mammograms
- Quit smoking. For information on how to quit, click here.
- Limit your alcohol intake to less than four drinks per week
Looking for a new healthcare provider? The Center’s database of providers, called Link, includes multiple entries for culturally competent physicians.