Breast cancer is one of the deadliest diseases that women are worried about. But treatments for breast cancer have been getting better. Find out what steps might reduce your risk of breast cancer. Apart from treatments, the following 8 steps can lower the chances of breast cancer.
- 1. Keep Weight in Check
- 2. Be Physically Active
- 3. Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables – and Avoid Too Much Alcohol
- 4. Don’t Smoke
- 5. Breastfeed, If Possible
- 6. Avoid Birth Control Pills, Particularly After Age 35 or If You Smoke
- 7. Avoid Post-Menopausal Hormones
- 8. Tamoxifen and Raloxifene for Women at High Risk
- Find Out Your Family History
- Do the Screening
- Diet to Reduce Breast Cancer
- Other Important Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
1. Keep Weight in Check
Maintaining a healthy weight is an important goal for everyone. Being overweight can increase the risk of many different cancers, including breast cancer, especially after menopause.
2. Be Physically Active
Women who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep weight in check.
3. Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables – and Avoid Too Much Alcohol
Having a healthy diet, veggies and keeping alcohol have a lower risk of breast cancer. Even low levels of intake can increase the risk of breast cancer in adults. If you drink moderately, there’s likely no reason to stop. But, if you drink more, you should cut down or quit.
4. Don’t Smoke
Everyone knows how unhealthy smoking is. Lowering or quitting smoking can surely lower the risks of breast cancer. Apart from this, it also causes smelly breath, bad teeth, and wrinkles. Now that’s the motivation to stay smoke-free or work to get smoke-free.
5. Breastfeed, If Possible
Breastfeeding for a total of one year or more (combined for all children) lowers the risk of breast cancer. It also has great health benefits for the child.
6. Avoid Birth Control Pills, Particularly After Age 35 or If You Smoke
Birth control pills have both risks and benefits. While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and uterine cancer. If you’re very concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one option to lower risk.
7. Avoid Post-Menopausal Hormones
Post-menopausal hormones shouldn’t be taken long term to prevent chronic diseases, like osteoporosis and heart disease. Both estrogen-only hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. If women do take post-menopausal hormones, it should be for the shortest time possible.
8. Tamoxifen and Raloxifene for Women at High Risk
Taking the prescription drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in woman. These drugs have been approved by the FDA for breast cancer prevention, but they can have side effects, so they aren’t right for everyone.
Find Out Your Family History
Breast cancer may be hereditary. If women have some family members with breast cancer, should take special care. You may be at high risk of breast cancer if you have a mother or sister who developed breast or ovarian cancer or if you have multiple. A doctor or genetic counselor can help you understand your family history of the disease.
Do the Screening
Breast cancer screening with mammography saves lives. With the help of screening, breast cancer can be identified at the earlier stage. For most women, regular mammograms can begin at age 40, but specific recommendations vary by age and risk.
If you are age 40 – 44:
You can choose to begin yearly mammograms. It is important to talk to a doctor about the risk and benefits of mammograms at these ages.
If you are age 45 – 54:
Mammograms are recommended every year.
If you are age 55 or over:
Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year.
A woman should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel.
Diet to Reduce Breast Cancer
Foods to Eat
- A wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
- Foods rich in fiber, such as whole grains, beans, and legumes
- Foods are rich in vitamin D.
- Foods, particularly spices, with anti-inflammatory properties
- Low-fat milk and dairy products
- Soybean-based products
Foods to Avoid
- Red meat
Other Important Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
There are many breast cancer-causing factors that women have no control of. Knowing which ones apply to you can help you understand your risk and do what you can to lower it. These can increase a woman’s breast cancer risk:
- Older age, especially 60 years or over
- A family history of breast cancer
- The first menstrual period before age 12
- Menopause at age 55 or over
- First childbirth after age 35
- No children
- Tall height (5’8” or taller)
- Dense breasts
- History of benign breast disease.