Sharecare asked a group of oncologists and surgeons how readers could boost their breast health in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The experts also answered questions for Sharecare’s original series Behind the Scrubs, so readers could get to know them a little more. To read more Behind the Scrubs answers from our experts — like which unexpected habits they wished their patients would drop, how they stay healthy, plus the most common questions their patients ask them — click on their names below.
Related: Know the Signs: Breast Cancer
“One thing women can do to improve their breast health is become more aware of their breast anatomy. So if there is any change, nipple retraction, nipple discharge, change in color, skin texture, or mass, then immediately seek attention.”—Oncologist Elke Friedman, MD, of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, Richmond, Virginia.
“Become informed about their personal risk for breast cancer by discussing their family history with their primary care provider or at the time of their routine screening mammogram.”— Surgical oncologist Tara Breslin, MD, of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
“Exercise regularly, maintain a normal body weight, eat a diet high in plant proteins, and keep alcohol consumption to less than or equal to one drink per day for women. All of these can lower the risk of breast cancer.”— Surgeon Joyce Moore, MD of Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado.
“Your breasts change as you go through different stages of your life. Breast self-awareness means knowing what is normal for your breasts and that promotes great breast health. It’s important to encourage women to become aware of the feel and shape of their breasts, so that they are familiar with what is normal for them and report any changes to their physician.” — Surgical oncologist Amelia Tower, MD, of Medical Center Alliance, Fort Worth, Texas.
“Maintain a healthy weight; exercise 30 minutes a day, at least four to five days each week; eat a healthy, balanced diet; limit alcohol to one drink per day; take your vitamins, especially vitamin D; get a screening mammogram.”—Surgeon Reese Davis, MD, of Lone Peak Hospital, Draper, Utah.
“If you are a woman 40 or older and have not already done so this year, get your mammogram. If you are under 40, be familiar with what is normal for your breasts and if something changes, let a physician know.”— Surgical oncologist Nasim Ahmadiyeh, MD, of Overland Park Regional Medical Center, Overland Park, Kansas.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so use this time to get the word out: share these expert tips with your female friends and family members and encourage them to follow the breast cancer screening guidelines.