What is it? Breast Cancer —the words are scary. Go ahead, say them out loud a few times. No lightening has struck! And, even when breast cancer is diagnosed, it's not like lightening. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer live out their natural lives. And now —few women actually lose a breast to cancer. In many cases, a young woman can even go on and get pregnant with no increased danger. The real issue for most women with breast cancer is how to live and live fully and happily after the diagnosis. When one member of the family gets breast cancer it affects everybody in the family. Open communication, being able to be honest and real, sad but never hopeless, offering love and hugs —these things make all the difference. All mothers and daughters should probably talk about breast cancer, just to make it a discussible topic. It's the things we don't talk about that become scary. We think, "that must be really, really horrible if we can't even talk about it." So get it out in the open. Breast cancer info risks If there's a family history of breast cancer, (in mother, grandmother, or aunt, for example) then mothers and daughters must talk about reality and increased breast cancer risk. This usually means getting the advice of a knowledgeable professional —a doctor or genetic counselor. The risk of breast cancer is lowest in younger women. The risk increases greatly after the age of 40 and two-thirds of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women over the age of 50. Having large breasts or being hit on the breast increase your risk of breast cancer. does not Steps toward prevention There are things a woman or teen can do that may help prevent breast cancer. They include: Maintain a normal weight for YOU Being overweight increases your risk of breast cancer. This doesn't mean that you should be pencil-thin. Ask your doctor what the range of normal weight is for your height, body type, and bone structure. Age and weight You don't need to worry about this just yet, but after the age of 30, gaining an extra 10 or 20 pounds can increase breast cancer risk. Eat a healthy diet It used to be thought that a very low-fat diet helped women avoid breast cancer, but newer research suggests that's not true. But for your overall health and breast health you should eat a low-fat diet and the oil or fats in your diets should be "good" ones —unprocessed vegetable oils, nuts, avocado, or fatty fish. Olive oil and flaxseed oil are also really good for you. Avoid "junk" food Cut way down on over processed, fat free or "diet" foods. They generally contain too much sugar. Limit or avoid alcohol If you drink alcoholic beverages at all, do so in moderation; say, no more than three drinks in a week. Keep in mind your state's legal drinking age. Monthly breast exams Monthly breast exams are an important part in detecting irregularities in your breasts early on. Consult your doctor or check out Doing a Breast Self-Exam on this site for the correct way to perform a breast exam. Drink tea Tea has been shown to help prevent several kinds of cancer, including breast cancer. The best choice is green tea, next best is oolong, and the third best is black tea. Remember that these all contain caffeine. Caffeine doesn't increase the risk of breast cancer, but you may want to cut down on it for other reasons. You can use decaffeinated varieties of these teas, too, if you want to cut down on caffeine. Remember, women live out their full lives after a breast cancer diagnosis. The best treatment is taking steps for prevention and early diagnosis. That's why self-breast exams are so important. So read Doing a Breast Self-Exam and start on your path to good breast health. Find breast cancer info and read helpful information and prevention tips at BeingGirl.com.