October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The words “cancer” and “good news” may not seem like they go together. But when it comes to breast cancer, we think there are some positive facts worth sharing.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), researchers are continuing to explore better ways to prevent, detect and treat breast cancer. And newer therapies and approaches may help women with breast cancer have fewer side effects — and a better quality of life — during and after treatment.

But perhaps the best news about breast cancer is that survival rates continue to climb.

Thank you, mammogram!

The NCI says that much of the credit goes to screening mammography — which remains the best way to find breast cancer early. Breast cancer found early is often the easiest to successfully treat.

Most women ages 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every 2 years, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. You and your doctor may decide that you should be screened earlier or more often, depending on your risks for breast cancer.

How to help protect yourself.

You get your screenings regularly, but what other steps can you take? We may not have a single proven way to prevent breast cancer yet. But research continues to reveal steps you can take in your daily life to help lower your risk for developing the disease. According to the NCI, that includes:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause.
  • Be active. Regular exercise may offer protection by helping women control their weight — and by lowering hormone levels.
  • Think before you drink. Avoiding alcohol — or limiting yourself to no more than one drink per day — could help reduce your risk.

What should you do next?

Step up for a mammogram. Not sure if you need one? Talk with your doctor. To help get the conversation started, here’s a checklist of questions regarding breast cancer risk.

You might also ask whether you’d benefit from 3-D mammography. Some doctors may consider this type of mammogram for women with dense breasts.

Panko-Crusted Pork Chops with Asian Slaw

Recipe By: Carolyn Casner

“Panko breadcrumbs and a high-heat oven lend satisfying crispiness to pork chops without frying. The miso-flavored chops pair with coleslaw, here updated with snow peas, red bell pepper and Asian flavors like ginger, to round out this healthy 400-calorie meal that’s ready in under an hour.”

3 tablespoons miso, divided
1 large egg
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Sriracha (optional)
½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
¾ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
4 boneless pork loin chops (about 1 pound), trimmed
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups sliced snow peas
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
2 scallions, sliced

1-Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a wire rack with cooking spray and place it on a large rimmed baking sheet.
2-Whisk 2 tablespoons miso, egg, hot sauce (if using) and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Place panko in a second shallow dish. Coat each pork chop with the miso mixture and then dredge in the panko. Place the chops on the wire rack and coat both sides with cooking spray. Bake until just cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes.
3-Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, oil, mayonnaise, ginger, salt, the remaining 1 tablespoon miso and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add cabbage, snow peas, bell pepper and scallions and toss to coat well. Serve the pork chops with the slaw.
To make ahead: Refrigerate slaw for up to 3 days.

Did you know???

Germs are natural survivors. So there are places they may hide out around the house. You don’t need to get rid of every germ to have a healthy home. But here are a few hot spots you won’t want to miss. Keeping these things clean may help reduce your exposure to germs, including those that may make you or your family sick.

1. Kitchen sponges and dishcloths. They pick up germs and spread them. Since they’re often damp, they’re also perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.

Quick tips: Zap a wet sponge in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes each day to help kill germs — or run it through the dishwasher using a hot dry cycle. Replace sponges regularly. And wash dish towels and rags in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

2. Toothbrush holders. In your normal routine, you may forget to wash these. But remember this: They’re often placed near flushing toilets, which can send germs flying. Ew!

Quick tips: Scrub toothbrush holders with hot soapy water. If you use a cup or other freestanding holder, put it through the dishwasher once or twice a week on the hot cycle.

3. Pet bowls and toys. You don’t want to fetch bacteria, yeast and mold during playtime or mealtime.

Quick tips: Wash bowls and hard toys with hot soapy water. Toss soft toys in your washing machine on a hot cycle. And always wash your hands after playing with household pets — especially before eating.

4. Countertops and cutting boards. These frequently used surfaces need on-the-spot attention to stay clean.

Quick tips: Clean countertops with hot soapy water, especially before and after preparing food. Wash cutting boards after each use. And to avoid cross contamination, always use separate cutting boards for fresh produce and raw meat, poultry or fish.

5. Knobs and handles. Any items people touch this much tend to get germy.

Quick tips: Clean doorknobs, toilet handles and faucets often with hot soapy water or disinfecting wipes — especially if someone in the house is sick.

6. Coffee makers. Their water reservoirs make damp, cozy homes for bacteria to multiply in.

Quick tips: Follow the manufacturer’s directions for your coffee maker. Most advise cleaning every 40 to 80 brew cycles — or at least monthly.

7. Finally…the kitchen sink. It’s last, but certainly not least. The sink can harbor germs from all sorts of sources, from dirty sponges to grimy pans.

Quick tips: Wash the sides and bottom regularly with hot soapy water. And don’t overlook the strainer in the drain — it needs a good cleaning too. You can also use a mild water-bleach solution or other sanitizing solution to clean some items, such as sinks, countertops, cutting boards and pet items. Rinse in clean water — and dry.

What should you do next?

Get protection against the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s best to get your shot before the flu starts going around in your community — so the sooner the better.

Article Credits: United Health Care

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