During the month of October, you might notice residents in senior living communities across the country wearing pink. From pink hats to pink sneakers, seniors are part of the effort to shine the spotlight on Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And for good reason. While breast cancer risk begins to increase at age 40, women over the age of 70 are at highest risk.
Breast cancer symptoms can include a lump in the breast, thickening or swelling breasts, red flaky skin around the affected area, and nipple discharge. But it’s important to note that not all women experience any symptoms. That’s why mammograms and prevention measures are so vital.
Some risk factors—such as age and family history—are beyond a woman’s control, but many others are not. Here are a few steps senior women can take that may help lower their risk for developing breast cancer.
5 Healthy Lifestyle Choices to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk
Maintain a healthy weight:
Being overweight or obese after menopause can increase your breast cancer risk. Working with your doctor to maintain a healthy weight may help protect you from breast cancer.
Stay active and engaged:
Women who live a sedentary life are also at higher risk for developing breast cancer. By contrast, women who exercise regularly are 20% less likely to develop breast cancer. Talk with your physician about senior-friendly fitness programs, such as swimming, walking, or Go4Life from the National Institutes of Health.
Drink in moderation:
Alcohol consumption may also play a role in breast cancer risk. Researchers say women who consume two or three alcoholic drinks a day have a 20% higher risk of developing breast cancer. By limiting your alcohol intake, you may help lower your risk.
Eat a healthy diet:
Some studies indicate that diet may play a role in breast cancer risk. In countries where people consume less total fat, as well as less polyunsaturated and saturated fat, the incidence of breast cancer is lower. By sticking to a diet rich in lean protein, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, you may lower your breast cancer risk.
Smoking is linked to a variety of cancers, including breast cancer. Even exposure to large amounts of secondhand smoke can be harmful. If you are a smoker or live with a smoker, talk with a physician about smoking cessation programs.
Live Your Best Life During Retirement
Senior living communities offer residents a wide variety of options for staying healthy and active. From well-balanced meals to daily wellness programs, senior living communities make it easier for residents to age well.
One of our experienced senior care advisors will be happy to help you review the independent and assisted living communities near you. Our support and guidance are always free! Call (888) 514-6461 to learn more and get started.
Photo Credit: Natural Me Beauty