Approximately one out of every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her life. While there is no way to completely eliminate your chances of getting cancer, there are some things women can do to decrease their risk:
We’ve all heard that “breast is best” for baby, but it has added benefits for mom as well. By breastfeeding your infant, you also decrease your risk for cancer.
- Cut back on alcohol intake.
The American Cancer Society states that women who have two to five drink a day have 1.5 times the risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t drink at all. Drinking can increase your chances of developing other cancers as well.
- Increase your physical activity.
Evidence shows that regular, moderate exercise can decrease a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer by up to 18 percent.
- Keep a healthy weight after menopause.
Prior to menopause, most of women’s estrogen comes from their ovaries, while a small amount comes from fat tissue. That ratio flips after menopause, enabling a higher concentration of fatty tissue can increase estrogen levels, further raising the risk of breast cancer. Being overweight can also add to insulin levels, which is linked to a higher risk of cancer.
- Don’t smoke.
There’s now evidence that smoking increases the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women.
- Limit hormone therapy.
It’s common for women to receive hormone therapy in order to control the symptoms of menopause. However, higher doses over long periods of time can increase the risk of breast cancer. The Mayo Clinic recommends that women take the lowest dose possible and ask their doctor to monitor the length of time they are on hormone supplements.
- Avoid radiation.
Computerized tomography and other medical-imaging methods use a large amount of radiation. There are some cases where it is vital to have these tests done, but if a woman is already at a high risk of developing breast cancer, she might want to ask her doctor about alternatives.
- Eat a Mediterranean diet.
Healthy eating is good for you in general, and some of the foods found in Mediterranean diets is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. These include extra-virgin olive oil, fish and nuts.
While there is no sure-fire way to completely eliminate your risk, following these steps can possibly reduce your chances of developing this pervasive disease. At Brevard Medica, we are here for you and all your medical needs.