Angelina Jolie’s recent decision to have a preventive double mastectomy is a powerful reminder of the toll breast cancer can take – and a reminder, also, that there are moves women can make to reduce their risk. Thankfully, most preventive steps are much less drastic than Jolie’s (and, also thankfully, such surgery is not a necessary or reasonable option for the vast majority of women). Still, 1 out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. Here are five tools that will empower you against the disease.
1. Be Informed: When it comes to breast cancer, ignorance isn’t bliss – smart choices about screening, let alone treatment, require educating yourself. Visit the Sharecare Breast Cancer Center for information about breast cancer including videos, expert Q&A, blogs, action plans and more. Then take the Breast Cancer Basics quiz to test your knowledge and learn more.
2. Know Your Risk: Less than 20% of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease but if your mother, sister or daughter has it, your risk doubles. It’s important to learn about the risk factors that affect you. Take our Breast Cancer Risk Assessment to calculate your risk and get personalized recommendations.
4. Be Willing to Reach Out: If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, a support group can make all the difference. In fact, some studies suggest participating in a supportive social group may help you live longer. Check out the Breast Cancer Support Group at our sister-site DailyStrength.org.
5. Connect With an Influencer: Follow our Top 10 Online Influencers in the battle against breast cancer. These physicians, cancer survivors, activists and journalists are changing the way we talk about breast cancer – and also how we think about it, research it and more.