The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

October 5, 2012

Speaking of Health: Women: Become a healthier you


4. Be breast-health conscious. It’s always important to monitor breast health, and since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, now is the perfect time to learn more. According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the fifth leading cause of death among women.

Warning signs of breast cancer may include:

  • General breast pain.
  • A new lump in the breast.
  • Breast thickening or swelling.
  • Shift in the breast shape or size.
  • Changes in the nipple, including bloody discharge.
  • New variations in the breast’s skin, such as dimpling or irritation.

Regular mammograms are the best way to identify breast cancer and early detection is essential. Speak with your health care provider if you have any concerns about breast cancer and ask when it would be appropriate to schedule a mammogram..

5. Manage chronic conditions. If you have chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it’s important to follow your health care provider’s recommendations. You can also find valuable information about chronic conditions on

6. Moderate alcohol intake. You’re at a greater risk for various types of cancer, including breast, colon, kidney, lung and liver, if you drink alcohol in excess. Only consume alcohol in moderation, if at all.

7. Embrace preventative care. Flu season is upon us, so wash your hands frequently and schedule your flu vaccine. Adults 65 years of age or older should ask their health care provider if a pneumonia vaccine is also recommended.

Throughout the busy fall season, remember to keep your health in mind. It’s not only important for you – your loved ones will appreciate it, too.

Amy Brien, M.D., is a Mayo Clinic Health System OB/GYN physician.

For more information, please go to

Health & Fitness coverage is supported by Mayo Clinic Health System, preserving the health and well-being of southern Minnesota communities.

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