Improve your chances of beating cancer

Lisa Laferriere
Alberta Health Services

Up to 50 per cent of breast cancers in Alberta are linked to factors we can influence. However, one in eight women in Alberta will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Some of the lifestyle choices that can be helpful in reducing your risk for breast cancer include being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding smoking and having a mammography.
Just because no one in your family has had breast cancer doesn’t mean you’re not at risk. In fact, 80 per cent of women who develop breast cancer have no family history of it at all.
A mammogram is the most accurate way of detecting breast cancer early. When abnormalities are detected early, treatment has the best chance of working. And you don’t need to be experiencing any unusual symptoms in your breasts to need a mammogram.
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breasts that can find abnormal changes that may be too small for you or your healthcare provider to feel. When abnormalities are detected early, treatment has the best chance of working.
If you are between 50 and 74 years of age, breast cancer screening has proven to have the most benefit. Plan on having a mammogram every two years or as decided by you and your healthcare provider. If you are 75 or older you may continue to benefit from a regular screening mammogram. At any age, you can talk to your healthcare provider about your risk of breast cancer and your need for mammograms.
Mammograms are done at specific radiology clinics and some hospitals, and are also available through a mobile program that travels to about 100 rural communities throughout Alberta.
Know what looks and feels normal for you, at any age, so you can notice any unusual changes in your breasts. Talk to your healthcare provider if you notice anything different. Consider the factors that you can influence to reduce your risk of breast cancer. For example, living an active lifestyle can help in weight maintenance.
You can get more information and view the mobile mammography schedule at http://screeningforlife.ca/screentest/.
For more information about breast cancer screening in Alberta visit the Screening for Life website at http://screeningforlife.ca.
http://www.albertapreventscancer.ca/. For all other health related questions please call health link-811 or check out myhealth.alberta.ca.

 

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