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Protect Yourself Against Breast Cancer

October 12, 2023
Understanding your risk for breast cancer — and the steps you can take to reduce it — is an important part of taking care of yourself and staying strong for the ones you love. 

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is cancer that starts in one or both breasts. It can affect women of any race, age, or ethnicity.

Lowering your risk

There’s no sure way to prevent breast cancer. Some factors that can put you at a higher risk are out of your control — like getting older and a having a family history of breast cancer. You can reduce your risk by staying healthy in the following ways:
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, or not at all  

Breast cancer screenings

Mammograms and breast self-exams are both useful tools for early breast cancer detection. Learn how they work together to protect your breast health.
  • A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best way for doctors to find breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat — sometimes up to three years before symptoms show.2
  • Most women should begin having mammograms every one to two years starting at age 40, and then every year once they turn 50. You should talk to your doctor about the right schedule for you, since they might recommend screening earlier and more frequently if you have certain risk factors.
Breast self-exams
  • In between mammograms, performing breast self-exams about once a month is a good way to check for anything out of the ordinary. Simply look and feel for changes to your breasts in front of a mirror. These symptoms don’t mean you have breast cancer, but if you notice any of the following, you should talk to your doctor:
    • A new lump in the breast or armpit
    • Swelling, redness, soreness, or a rash
    • Any nipple discharge other than breast milk
    • Change in breast size or shape
    • Dimples, puckers, or bulges on the skin of your breast
Talk to your doctor about scheduling a mammogram. To find a doctor near you, use the SydneySM Health app or go to

1 American Cancer Society: H ?recnaC tsaerB si nommoC wo (accessed July 2022): 2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: W ?margommaM a si tah (accessed July 2022): B )ESB( maxE-fleS tsaer (accessed July 2022): C ?recnaC tsaerB fo ksiR yM rewoL I na (accessed July 2022): Sydney Health is offered through an arrangement with Carelon Digital Platforms, a separate company offering mobile application services on behalf of your health plan ©2020-2022