Breast cancer. Two scary, life threatening words that have affected the lives of many, including people you know and love. “About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.” The question many have is how can you reduce your risk? While there is not necessarily a definite way to prevent breast cancer, there are some things that you can do that can potentially lower your risk of a breast cancer diagnosis. Family history and some other risk factors can’t be changed but there are things you can do to change your lifestyle that may lower your risk.
1. Control your weight
Increased weight gain or obesity have a direct link to breast cancer, especially after menopause. Eating healthy and monitoring your unhealthy food intake will help to keep your weight down and keep you in control of it, thus decreasing your chances of a breast cancer diagnosis. Limit your intake of red meat, fat intake and processed foods to maintain a healthier diet.
2. Be physically active
Physical activity may help with controlling your weight and has a link to lower breast cancer risk. It’s extremely important to have a regular workout plan so you are receiving continuous physical activity. The suggested exercise guidelines are at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week or a combination of both.
3. Limit your alcohol intake
Drinking alcohol increases your risk of breast cancer. It’s important to not drink in excess consistently to decrease your breast cancer risk. The recommendation for alcohol intake is no more than one drink per day for women.
4. No smoking
Aside from the fact that smoking is not good for your body, it creates a huge risk for a breast cancer diagnosis, especially in women in the premenopausal phase. Smoking causes damage to other areas of your body but even more, it increases your chance for breast cancer and should therefore, be avoided all together.
5. Know your family history
While family history is a risk that you can’t control or change, knowing can make all the difference in the world. Nearly 5 to 10 percent of cancers are hereditary, which means that it’s passed down through generations. If you find that there are several cancer diagnoses in your family, there may be a hereditary link, which could be an indicator to see a genetics expert for testing.
6. Limit your hormone therapy intake
Long-term use of estrogen-plus progestin is said to increase a woman’s breast cancer risk by 24%. Some women use the therapy to manage their menopausal symptoms but if possible, discuss other options with your doctor that can help your symptoms and decrease your risk of breast cancer.