Breast Cancer. Many women can be worried just by reading these words. It’s normal.
Nearly everyone has known someone who is affected by the disease.
There is good news for breast cancer. The treatment options for breast cancer are improving and there are more ways to prevent it. These eight steps can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Although not all of these steps are applicable to every woman equally, they can make a significant difference.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Although it’s easy for people to forget, maintaining a healthy weight is important. Being overweight can raise your risk of developing many types of cancers, such as breast cancer. This is especially true after menopause.
- Get Physically Active
A silver bullet for good health is exercise. Women who exercise for at least 30 minutes per day are less likely to develop breast cancer. Regular exercise is a great way to keep your weight under control.
- Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables, Limit Alcohol (Zero is the Best)
Healthy eating habits can lower your risk of developing breast cancer. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and limit your intake of alcohol. Moderate drinking is good for your heart, but even moderate amounts can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. With other alcohol-related risks, it is best to avoid drinking.
- Do not smoke
Both smokers and non-smokers know the dangers of smoking. Smoking lowers quality of life, increases the risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as increasing your chance of developing at least 15 types of cancer, including breast cancer. It also causes bad breath, bad teeth and wrinkles. This is why you should quit smoking or make an effort to quit.
- If possible, breastfeed
Breastfeeding for at least one year (combined for all kids) reduces breast cancer risk. Breastfeeding is also great for the child’s health.
- Avoid birth control pills, especially after age 35 and if you smoke
Birth control pills come with both risks and benefits. The risks associated with birth control pills are lower for younger women. Women who use birth control pills have an increased chance of developing breast cancer. However, this risk disappears quickly once the pill is stopped. Smoking can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Long-term use of the pill can have many benefits. It may lower your risk of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer. There are also advantages to unplanned pregnancy. Avoiding birth control pills is an option to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
- Avoid post-menopausal hormones
To prevent osteoporosis or heart disease, post-menopausal hormones should not be used long-term. Studies show they have a mixed effect on health, increasing the risk of some diseases and lowering the risk of others, and both estrogen only hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. Women should not take post-menopausal hormonal hormones for longer than necessary. Your doctor is the best person to discuss the benefits and risks of post-menopausal hormonal hormones.