Lowering Your Risk for Breast Cancer

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With the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. There are a number of factors that contribute to your risk for breast cancer, and many of them are beyond your control. You do have control over many breast cancer risk factors, however. Here are a few things that you can do to lower your risk for breast cancer.

Maintain a healthy weight

Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop breast cancer than women at a healthy weight. Eating healthy, nutritious foods in the right amounts and regular physical activity are key in maintaining a healthy weight.

Exercise regularly

Both moderate and vigorous exercise have been shown to decrease breast cancer risk. The CDC recommends a minimum of 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity, along with 2 days of strengthening each week. The more you exercise, the greater the health benefits.

Eat a healthy diet

The EPIC study, a large-scale study of the effects of food and drink on cancer risk, found that women who ate more fruits and vegetables had a lower risk of developing cancer. Is this because the fresh produce took the place of less healthy foods, or because it helped them maintain a healthy weight? More research is needed. However, eating healthy foods can improve your overall health, strengthen your immune system, and help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible. Limit unhealthy fats, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and cut out highly processed foods. Here are more ideas for healthy eating.

Limit alcoholic beverages

Research shows that alcohol increases the risk for developing breast cancer. A report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found that even one alcoholic drink a day increases breast cancer risk.

Sleep more

Who wouldn’t love an extra hour or two of sleep each night? Research suggests that a lack of nighttime sleep can increase your risk for developing breast cancer.

Routine screenings

You can do things to decrease your risk, but ultimately breast cancer cannot be prevented. It’s important to catch cancer early in development as this increases survival rates. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening method is right for you.