October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 252,710 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year.

As a result, our team at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville wants to offer some tips on how you can best care for your breast health and lower your risk of breast cancer.

Reducing Your Risk

While there is no way to totally eliminate the risk of breast cancer, there are many things you can do to help decrease your risk.

For starters, live a healthy lifestyle. Fill your plate with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains—and limit your consumption of excess fat, sodium and sugar. In addition, get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Don’t smoke, and limit your alcohol consumption.

Second, if you have a baby and you’re able, breastfeed for as long as possible. Some studies have shown that women who are able to breastfeed for at least a year are able to reduce their risk of breast cancer compared with those who don’t.

Finally, if you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, give careful thought to whether you use hormone replacement therapy. Research has shown that women who used a combination of both estrogen and progestin have an increased risk of breast cancer. However, that risk returns to normal five years after use. So talk with your doctor about the potential benefits of using HRT and whether it would be right for you.

Knowing the Signs of Breast Cancer

In many cases, women (and men) who have breast cancer don’t experience any symptoms before diagnosis. However, some symptoms can be a sign that medical attention is needed. These include:

  • Breast pain that doesn’t go away
  • Changes in the shape or size of the nipple
  • A new lump that doesn’t go away
  • Nipple discharge that is clear, red, brown or yellow
  • Unexplained redness, swelling, skin irritation, itchiness or rash on the breast, around the collarbone or under the arm

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If anything strikes you as unusual or “off,” talk with your physician.

Bringing Awareness to Knoxville

Are you looking for ways to get involved in spreading awareness about breast cancer across our area? There are a couple of events coming up in the next few weeks in the Knoxville area.

One event is the 2017 Komen Knoxville Race for the Cure, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21.

The other event is the 2017 Subway Race Against Cancer event, which will be held on Sunday, Nov. 12. Although this run is not strictly for breast cancer, it can help aid in bringing awareness about all cancers affecting us and our loved ones.

Are you planning to run or walk in a race this season to help bring awareness to breast cancer? Visit AFC Urgent Care Knoxville today to ensure your body is up to the challenge!