With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I figured it might be a good time to think a little bit deeper on ways to help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Though breast cancer risk factors like family history can’t be changed, you can at least make some lifestyle changes to help lower that risk.
Breast cancer prevention starts with healthy habits – and these types of changes have been shown in studies to help decrease breast cancer risk even in high-risk women.
- Limit Alcohol. The more you drink -the more the risk of developing breast cancer. The general consensus is to limit yourself to less than 1 drink per day. Even small amounts of alcohol can increase your risk.
- Don’t Smoke. There is evidence suggesting a link between smoking and breast cancer risk especially in pre menopausal women.
- Control Your Weight. Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer, especially if you gain weight later in life (especially after menopause).
- Get Active. Physical activity is good for your general health – but also to help maintain a healthy weight (which as we mentioned above, does help prevent breast cancer). Its recommended you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week.
- Breast Feed if Possible. Besides health benefits for your baby, breast feeding may play a role in breast cancer prevention.
Be vigilant about breast cancer detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. Also, ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screenings based on your personal history.
DID YOU KNOW??
A woman in the United States has about a 1-in-8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer.*
About 40,920 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2018 from breast cancer.
Breast cancer incidence and death rates generally increase with age.
Women and men with a family history of breast cancer, especially in a first-degree relative are at increased risk for the disease. Compared to women without a family history, risk for women with one affected first-degree female relative is 2 times higher and with more than one first-degree relative the risk is 3-4 times higher.