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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Prevention

An IU Health Arnett doctor said there are easy ways to prevent women from ever being diagnosed.

Posted: Oct 26, 2021 3:56 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2021 3:07 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — This week's breast cancer awareness story is all about prevention.

An IU Health Arnett doctor said there are easy ways to prevent women from ever being diagnosed.

"The most common family history of our breast cancer patients is no family history," said IU Health Arnett Hematologist and Medical Oncologist Dr. Howard Cooper.

Cooper said while genetics play a role in breast cancer risk, there's something else that's a bigger factor.

However, it's not skipping your annual mammogram.

"Early detection, yeah, that's important, but I think the words been out for decades on that," said Cooper.

Cooper said mammograms are important, but it's not going to stop you from getting cancer.

"It is not preventative," said Cooper. "The mammogram is a detection test for the cancer that's already there."

He said it's certain habits that can lower your risk of breast cancer.

"The importance of prevention is we have to show up for that first mammogram in the best shape of our lives," Cooper said.

Cooper said obesity is a major risk factor.

"I've met very few people who understand the risk between our weight and breast cancer risk," Cooper explained.

Cooper recommends getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week and having a body mass index between 20 and 25.

He also said if you drink alcohol, do it in moderation.

"Our chance of ever getting breast cancer will be reduced quite considerably if we do those things," Cooper added.

Cooper said mammograms are still the best way to catch cancer early, and that it leads to the best outcome.

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