Central California Alliance for Health | Living Healthy | September 2020

HEALTHY 6 Long-acting reversible contraceptives: What are they, and are they right for me? Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are very effective birth control methods. In fact, they are 98% to 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy! This type of birth control lasts for years at a time, so you do not have to rely on remembering birth control every day. LARCs are a good option for women who do not want a baby soon. This could be because you may not want more children now but you want to keep your options open. Or it might be because you do not wish to have children within the next few years. Or maybe you might not want children at all. The great thing about LARCs is that they are reversible—so if your situation changes, you can stop using them and become fertile again. LARCs can last between 3 and 10 years depending on the type used. They may come in the form of an implant that is placed under the skin of the arm or a small device that is placed in the uterus. They all require a small procedure for placement; however, once it is placed it provides long-term, reliable birth control. It is important to know that LARCs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In order to protect yourself against STIs, also use a condom during intercourse. Which one should you choose? This is an individual choice. Different people will prefer different options. Talk to your doctor about which option may be best for you! As of yet, there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. Even so, there are steps you can take to lower your risk. One key step? Stay at a healthy body weight. This is even more important in midlife and later. Here’s why: A good time to consider breast health true if those pounds end up on your waist. There are a number of other steps you can take to help prevent breast cancer. These include: Avoid alcohol. Drinking can raise your risk of getting breast cancer. In fact, your risk goes up the more you drink. Move more. Exercise may be able to help lower your risk. Try to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Know the risks of hormone therapy. There are risks and benefits of taking hormone therapy. After a woman’s periods stop, most of her estrogen comes from fat cells. Estrogen can spur the growth of many breast tumors. That’s why too many pounds later in life could raise breast cancer risk. This seems to be especially Talk to your doctor to learn more. Finding breast cancer early Breast cancer can still develop even with the above safeguards. So be sure to talk to your doctor about when to have mammograms. Regular mammograms can help find cancer in its early stages. Finding cancer early can help give you a head start on treatment. Some women may have certain risk factors. So you may need to talk with your doctor about additional screening tests, such as an MRI scan. Source: American Cancer Society