While there are no cures for breast cancer, there are a few steps you can take to lower your risks and try to avoid this horrible disease. The following are a few of those tips that any women can incorporate into their daily lives to prevent breast cancer.
Tip #1: Watch Your Weight
Being obese or even overweight has been shown to increase your risk of breast cancer, as well as creating a risk for a ton of other health problems. The risk of breast cancer significantly increases when you gain weight mid-life. Doctors recommend trying to keep your BMI around 25 or less to reduce your risk the most.
Tip #2: Cut Out Alcohol
Alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer by as much as 20 or 25 percent. This is true if you drink more than one drink per day. The best way to ensure that alcohol use will not contribute to your breast cancer risk is to stop drinking alcohol completely, or at least cut back on your alcohol use significantly.
Tip #3: Eat A Healthy Diet
There are a ton of fruits and vegetables that provide breast cancer protection. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can also help you to maintain a healthy weight, and that in turn can lower your breast cancer risk. Some great choices of fruits and veggies to try are broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, tomatoes and carrots. If you are looking for fruits, choose berries, citrus fruits and cherries for the biggest benefits.
Tip #4: Breastfeed
Did you know that breastfeeding offers protection from breast cancer? The longer that you breastfeed, the longer the protective effect continues, so try to breastfeed your babies as long as possible.
Tip #5: Don’t Take Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer when taken long term. If you are already taking hormone therapy, ask your doctor about other options. If you have not begun hormone therapy, avoid it if possible. If you do decide to use hormone therapy, make sure that you use the lowest possible dose and only use hormone therapy as a temporary fix.
Tip #6: Try To Avoid Environmental Pollutants
There have been some studies done that indicate that environmental pollutants such as vehicle exhaust fumes and air pollution do increase the risk of breast cancer. These studies still need more time and further research, but it might be a good idea to try to avoid these pollutants if at all possible.
If you are supposed to be going for a mammogram, go. Don’t put if off. Make sure that you are doing your monthly breast self-exams also. Whatever you can do to get ahead of the breast cancer risk is only helping you, so be proactive, and always visit your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
Tip #8: Ask About Meds
If you are a woman over 60 or you already have an increased risk of breast cancer, you might want to talk with your doctor about starting an estrogen blocking drug such as tamoxifen or raloxifene. These drugs have been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer by as much as 50 percent. These drugs also come with risks and side effects of their own, so make sure to discuss at length with your doctor when deciding whether or not to give them a try.
Tip #9: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
This is often the advice for preventing a lot of medical conditions, and that is because it works! Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, but aim for an hour. You don’t have to lift weights for the whole time, just get outdoors and do some moderate physical activity. Go for a walk, run in the yard with your kids, take the dog for a stroll. Exercise is one of those things that has the biggest impact on keeping you healthy.
Tip #10: Stay Informed
Check in with your doctor often to stay on top of your breast cancer risk factors. Keep reading up on all the latest research and studies that are being done right now. Take a proactive approach with not only your health, but also the health of those that you care about. Volunteer at breast cancer fundraisers and get to know survivors. Being active, healthy and having a positive mental outlook are some of the most important things you can do to stay healthy.