With all the alarming figures that pop up in front of us, it’s natural to be concerned about developing breast cancer. While some factors, such as family history, can’t be changed, the good news is there are lifestyle shifts you can make to lower your risk.
Here are some of the top prevention measures:
Change your diet: High-fat diets can lead to being overweight or obese, which is a breast cancer risk factor. Overweight women are thought to be at higher risk for breast cancer because the extra fat cells make oestrogen, which can cause extra breast cell growth. One of the best changes you can make is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (over five cups a day).
Stop smoking and stay away from smoke: Smoking is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women. Research has also shown there may be a link between very heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. If you don’t smoke, don’t think of starting, and if you do, use every resource you can find to help you quit.
Exercise regularly: Research shows a link between exercising regularly at a moderate or intense level for four to seven hours per week and a lower risk of breast cancer. Exercise consumes and controls blood sugar and limits blood levels of insulin growth factor, a hormone that can affect how breast cells grow and behave.
Breastfeed when possible:If you have children, breastfeed your babies for as long as possible. Women who breastfeed their babies for at least a year in total are less likely to develop breast cancer later.
Avoid hormone replacement therapy: Menopausal hormone therapy increases risk for breast cancer. If you must take hormones to manage menopausal symptoms, try not to take those with progesterone and limit their use to less than three years.
Get regular breast cancer screenings. Follow your doctor or health care provider’s recommendations to decide what type of screening you need and how often you need it.
Limit alcohol consumption: The more cocktails you down, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. Try and limit yourself to the recommended dose, which is less than one drink a day, because even small amounts increase probability.