Risk Factor

My employer has a website, powered by WebMD, that you can perform a health assessment, take various health challenges, and find recipes and other health information. In fact, they give employees a $150 check for taking the health assessment and performing 2 activities towards a healthier lifestyle. This includes things like smoking cessation, weight loss, exercise, eating so many fruits and vegetables a day for a period of time, and meeting with a health coach.

I had forgotten about the $150 until today so I logged on to my account to indicate that I completed my health challenges. While there, I read “Michele’s Condition Risk Report” for breast cancer and thought their six tips were worth sharing:

  1. Drink wisely.  Alcohol is a major risk factor for breast cancer. Even having one drink a day consistently can increase your risks slightly; drinking more than that can raise your risks substantially.  (Check. I might drink 1-2 a month; and rarely more than 1-2 drinks.)
  2. Get screened. Having a breast exam once a year by a health case professional will ensure that any changes to your breasts are detected early. It went on to specify mammograms, but I’m really on the fence there. I wouldn’t say don’t get them, but I’m not convinced they help — and they may actually cause harm. (But I can still say “check” on this one since I do have the site of my former breasts examined on a regular basis by several doctors.)
  3. Adopt an exercise habit. Moderate exercise reduces your risk. (Um. Check? Not sure if 30 minutes on the treadmill workstation at work counts as moderate… I was doing yoga for a while and need to get back to that.  I’ll give myself a 1/4 point here.)
  4. Stick to a healthy weight. Extra pounds have been linked to higher rates of breast cancer. (Ok, only a 1/2 point on this one. While I’m certainly not horribly overweight, the summer has not been kind to me. Five pounds gained on vacation back in June are refusing to depart, and then there’s the additional 5 I wanted to lose. But still working on this.)
  5. Eat plants. A diet rich in the antioxidants and fiber found in veggies and fruits may lower your risk of cancer. This was my favorite!!  I was so happy to see this on the list.  I thought the word “may” watered it down a bit, but I was still excited!  (BIG check on this one!)
  6. Stay positive. Finding ways to manage stress will boost your immune system, increase your well-being, and may ward off cancer. (While some days are easier than others, I think I’ll give myself a check on this one also!)

So how did you score?

IMDb: Risk Factor (2015)

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