7 Tips to reduce the risk of breast cancer
Health risks are of two kinds: the ones you can control and those that are beyond you. So, it is with breast cancer. Its prevention begins with understanding what you can do to reduce those risks. Some risks such as family history can’t be changed. But, by kick starting some lifestyle changes, you can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer.
Studies have reiterated time and again that changes in one’s lifestyle decreases the risk of breast cancer even in high risk women. The following 7 steps will reduce the risk greatly:
- Limit alcohol: The more alcohol you drink the greater will be your risk. The accepted recommendation is to limit the alcohol consumption to one drink per day as even the slightest amounts increase the risk.
- Quit smoking: Cumulative evidence points to a link between smoking and breast cancer especially in premenopausal women. Besides, quitting smoking is one of the best gifts one can bestow on oneself, health wise.
- Manage weight: Another big risk factor is being overweight or obese. If the obesity occurs after menopause then you’re in a high risk of getting breast cancer.
- Exercise: Physical exercise can help you maintain healthy weight apart from making you strong and supple. This in turn will reduce the risk of breast cancer. Engage in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, plus strength training twice a week to keep breast cancer at bay.
- Breast feed: Breast feeding might be the nature’s way of protecting you from breast cancer. The longer you breast feed the greater is the protection.
- Limit hormone therapy: Combination hormone therapy for more than 3 to 5 years increases the risks of breast cancer. If your doctor puts you on hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms then don’t forget to enquire about other options. You might be able to manage your symptoms with non-hormonal therapies and medications. And, if you decide the benefits of using short term hormonal therapies outweighs the risks, then take the lowest dose that works for you. Let your doctor monitor you during the length of time you are taking the hormone therapy.
- Keep away from radiation and environment pollution: Medical imaging such as computerized tomography employ high doses of radiation to get the job done. While not conclusive, as more studies need to be done, but research indicates a link between breast cancer and exposure to radiation. Avoid such procedures unless until they are absolutely necessary.
Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Eat healthy fats like olive oil instead of butter and fish instead of red meat. These choices greatly decrease the risk of cancers and others such as diabetes and heart disease.