Breast cancer can be a very scary thing! After all, about 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop the disease over the course of her lifetime, according to breastcancer.org! The good news? There ARE easy ways to prevent breast cancer and help substantially lower your risk.
There’s no question that breast cancer prevention begins with healthy habits. And while certain risk factors, such as family history, cannot be changed, you CAN make simple lifestyle choices that will help you avoid a breast cancer diagnosis. Limiting alcohol and staying physically active are just two of our seven ways to reduce your risk of the disease — read on for more!
Understanding what you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk may not only save your own life, it could also save a loved one’s! And with easy, manageable changes, reducing your risk of breast cancer has never been easier. After all, certain lifestyle changes have been shown in studies to decrease breast cancer risk — EVEN in high-risk women, according mayoclinic.org. The following are steps you can take to lower your risk:
Limiting your alcohol intake is huge! Studies have shown that the more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk is of developing breast cancer. The general recommendation — based on research on the effect of alcohol on breast cancer risk — is to limit yourself to less than 1 drink per day, as even small amounts increase risk.
Another big risk is smoking. Accumulating evidence has suggested that there’s a strong link between smoking and breast cancer — particularly in premenopausal women. And since smoking is also bad for your health in general, it’s best to just nix the dangerous habit all together!
Controlling your weight can also help lower your risk of breast cancer due to the fact that being overweight or obese increases your susceptibility to the disease. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
This next lifestyle tip is pretty much a no-brainer but it’s important to mention anyway — be physically active! Basically, physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. Pretty simple, right? For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
After giving birth, it’s also important to breast feed in order to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Studies have even found that the longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
For those using hormone therapy, it’s imperative that you limit your dose and the duration of hormone therapy treatment. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. For example, if you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. You might be able to manage your symptoms with nonhormonal therapies and medications. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, use the lowest dose that works for you and continue to have your doctor monitor the length of time you are taking hormones.
And finally, it’s super important to avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. This includes medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography since they use high doses of radiation. And while more studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and radiation exposure. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — what do you think of these easy lifestyle changes? Pretty simple, right?