Breast Cancer Awareness: What to Know to Protect Your Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Use this guide from the Stony Brook Cancer Center to learn more about the proactive steps you can take to benefit your health and the resources Stony Brook has available for patients and loved ones.

Proactive Steps for Your Breast Health

While there is not a list of actions to guarantee the prevention of breast cancer, being diligent about your breast health is important. And when cancer is detected at an early stage, treatments may be more effective. 

Clinical Breast Exam: Make an Appointment With Your Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Your obstetrician or gynecologist can perform a breast exam once a year. Generally, your insurance plan should cover the mammogram, but you should verify that with your carrier.

  • TIP: Speak with your doctor about the most effective way to perform a self-exam and how often you should do it so that it becomes part of your regular routine.

Schedule an Annual Mammogram

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends starting yearly screenings at age 40 and then every year after that. Based on your personal and family history, your doctor can advise you on whether this diagnostic test is needed before age 40.

  • TIP: It’s normal to have some anxiety about this exam. A helpful way to remember to schedule your exam is to call at the same time each year so it doesn’t fall off your radar.

Engaging Exercise

Many studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked to a lower risk of breast cancer, so consistently engaging in physical activity is important. 

  • TIP: The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week (or a combination of the two), preferably spread throughout the week. Exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is ideal. Try something that you would enjoy, such as biking, walking, swimming, running, tennis, racquetball or yoga.

Eating Well

Maintaining a balanced nutrition plan and a healthy body mass index (BMI) can help prevent cancer and support your overall health. Eating a plant-based diet, reducing alcohol intake and limiting meat consumption are all great ways to start incorporating positive eating habits into your daily routine.  

  • TIP: For more information on nutrition, visit

Information provided by the Stony Brook Cancer Center.

Resources from the Stony Brook Cancer Center:

SBU Cancer Center Mammography Van
The Mobile Mammography Van made its debut in late 2018. Its mission is to offer convenient access to a mammogram for all women on Long Island, including the uninsured and underserved populations. To date, more than 7,000 patients have been welcomed from Nassau and Suffolk counties to have a mammogram through this program.

Significant findings from these mammograms have been found in over 40 cases. When cancer is detected, patients are not obligated to use Stony Brook Cancer Center’s services. Patients have the freedom to use any diagnostic facility of their choosing, yet the majority of patients return to Stony Brook for follow-up care since their experience on the mobile unit was so positive. 

For more about the van and to schedule an appointment, call 833-MY-MAMM0 or visit Mobile Mammogram Is Heading Your Way

Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center in Stony Brook
In 1996, the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center was dedicated in recognition of breast cancer survivor Carol Baldwin’s efforts to raise funds for cancer research. Under the expert leadership of Brian J. O’Hea, MD,  the Center continues its mission of providing patients with exceptional and compassionate care. Learn more >

SB Cancer Experts

CancerWise Smart Talk 

Learn more about breast cancer, including prevention, diagnostics and treatment with these videos from the cancer experts on the Breast Cancer Team at the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center. 

About Stony Brook Cancer Center:

Stony Brook Cancer Center is Suffolk County’s cancer care leader and a leader in education and research. With more than 20,000 inpatient and 70,000 outpatient visits annually, the Cancer Center includes 12 multidisciplinary teams: Breast Cancer; Colorectal Cancer; Gastrointestinal Cancer; Genitourinary Oncology; Gynecologic Cancer; Head and Neck Cancer, and Thyroid Cancer; Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplant; Lung Cancer; Melanoma and Soft Tissue Sarcoma; Neurologic Oncology; Orthopedic Oncology; Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. The cancer program is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. To learn more, visit

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