CHAPTERS

Introductory Excerpts

Be Good to Your Breasts, The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer Prevention

Introduction

Have you ever been given information about breast health and how you can help reduce your risk of breast cancer? If your answer is ‘no’ it’s not surprising. Except for a discussion about mammograms (and that’s if you’re 40 or older), you probably aren’t aware of the new and wonderful information that will help you protect your breasts.

Why is this important? You may have been told that one out of every eight women will have breast cancer by the time they’re past their 70s and that it’s a disease of older women. But if you feel like I do, it doesn’t quite seem that way. Perhaps you, as I, have known too many women who had breast cancer diagnosed before reaching their 50th birthday, and even more before they celebrated their 60th. And, for me, it’s not just women whom I’ve personally or professionally known, it’s also friends and family who lost their moms at a young age, or lost a 24-year-old sister, a 31-year-old cousin or a colleague at 37. Fortunately, most of the women whose stories I know had breast cancer and are now living healthy lives.

Your introduction to breast cancer may have been like mine. Your grandmother or mother had it or you had another relative, friend, or co-worker who was diagnosed with it. Or, perhaps your introduction to breast cancer wasn’t a personal one and instead, it was seeing a crowd of women, men, and children participate in a Race for the Cure or reading about a celebrity with breast cancer.

Regardless of the way in which you’ve been introduced to breast cancer, you want to read this book because you feel that you should learn about breast health for yourself or maybe for your daughter or for other girls and women in your life.

If you’re reading this book for yourself, you can be sure that there’s nothing like having your own, personal Breast Health Plan. Having one is not about age, race, religion, culture, or a particular medical or family history. You can be 20 (or even younger), 40, or 60+ years of age. You can be having regular menstrual periods, just. had a baby, or nearing or past menopause. No matter where you are in your life, having a Breast Health Plan is about being a woman and knowing you deserve the best breast health information and support possible.

So, if it’s a Breast Health Plan you want, you can have it! And, of course, since you are much more than your breasts, you’ll see how this plan can help every inch of you!

Description of Chapters

This book is organized in a way that leads you to your final goal, to have what you need for your Breast Health Plan. Here’s a brief description of what you will learn:

Chapter 1 discusses the meaning of preventive breast health and emphasizes the major role it can play in your life.

Chapter 2 introduces ‘breast and body attitudes’ and the tremendous effects they can have on the quality of your life and your health.

Chapter 3 discusses basic breast anatomy to help you understand about normal and abnormal breast changes that are discussed in Chapter 4 and elsewhere in the book.

Several approaches to breast cancer screening and their value in helping find abnormal breast changes is described in Chapter 5. You’ll find that this chapter, in particular, emphasizes the importance of working with your provider as a team and how to choose the types of breast cancer screening that will become an important part of your Breast Health Plan.

Chapter 6 introduces you to one of the most important parts of the book: Risk Factors. You’ll learn what these mean and how to put them into perspective. Whether the risk factors are related to family history, the way your digestive system works, or to your lifestyle and environment, they are all described in Chapters 7 through 11.

Chapter 12 includes medical and surgical ways to help reduce the risk of breast cancer while Chapter 13 offers information about other women’s health problems and what they have in common with the breast health information you’ve learned.

Chapters 14 and 15 offer information about planning and making changes to help you get started with your Breast Health Plan.

And, finally, Chapter 16 suggests some ways you can share this information with family, friends, and others and become involved in breast health in your community and beyond, should you want to do this now or in the future.