Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better. By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life.
Some general health tips to keep in mind:
- If you are sexually active, practice safer sex, and get tested for sexually transmitted infections. If you are sexually active with men, take some time to understand the risks of pregnancy, and the contraceptive options that are available.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol and other drugs
- If you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, try to quit or cut down
- Practice monthly breast self-exams to detect early signs of breast cancer
- Be proactive about managing stress
- Learn practical ways to improve the regularity and quality of your sleep
- Eat a healthy, balanced, and nutrient dense diet
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Get regular check-ups and Gynecological exams
Breast Cancer Screenings
Breast Self-Exams are a simple and effective way for women to recognize the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Every woman is at risk for breast cancer - it is the second most common form of cancer in women and has the second highest cancer mortality rate in women. Approximately 200,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,000 women will die from the disease each year. Breast Self- Exams are the first line of defense for women to detect breast cancer at an early stage and increase the chances for a successful recovery.
BSE should be performed once a month. The procedure itself is simple and should only take a few minutes. The best time to do a BSE is about a week after your period because many women experience breast tenderness and bloating before and during their period. For women on birth control pills, the week you start a new pack can remind you to perform a BSE.
A useful resource for information about breast self-exams is checkyourboobies.org which gives you information about performing these checks and also provides an opportunity to receive monthly emails to remind you to do your self-exams.