Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Simple steps for good breast health

There are approximately 184,000 new cases of breast cancer a year in the U.S. in women and about 1,900 new cases in men. Finding and treating breast cancer early improves outcomes, which is why Massey physicians recommend that breast self-examination be practiced along with regularly scheduled clinical breast examination and mammography.

Guidelines for scheduling mammography depend on various factors, including family health history. Consult with your clinician to create a screening plan.

Here are some helpful hints from Mary Helen Hackney, M.D., (pictured at right) for being proactive about breast health.

What to do:

  • Know your family history.
  • Do a breast self-exam once a month one week after your period, not before. By doing this regularly, you get to know how your breasts normally feel so that you are more apt to detect any change.
  • Eat a good diet.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage your weight appropriately. Obesity can increase the risk of breast and other cancers.

What to avoid:

  • Use of tobacco products.  If you are a smoker, there are resources to help you quit
  • Drinking alcohol in excess (more than one drink a day).