While there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, certain lifestyle changes may help you reduce your risk of developing the disease. Below are some ways you can reduce your risk. But remember, it is important to get an annual screening mammogram and let your doctor know of any changes – early detection is the key to successful treatment.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Studies have shown that women who have 2 to 3 alcoholic drinks a day are at about a 20% higher risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women who drink have no more than one drink per day.
While smoking is generally associated with lung cancer, research suggests that smoking may increase your risk of breast cancer. A study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research in 2017 suggests a link between smoking early in life and increased risk of breast cancer.
It is important to exercise frequently for many health reasons. It improves your cardiovascular health, mood, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and reduces your risk of many cancers, including breast cancer. It is recommended that you get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, each week.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Research suggests that up to 40% of cancers are related to being overweight or obese. A healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, preventing overweight and obesity. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of breast cancer, especially for post-menopausal women.
Women who breastfed for at least six months saw a protective effect against breast cancer. Studies have shown that the longer you breastfeed, the more health benefits you receive.
Avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy for Menopause
A study published in the journal JAMA Oncology in 2016 found that women may reduce their risk of breast cancer by avoiding hormone replacement therapy for menopause. This treatment is used to ease the symptoms of menopause and help prevent osteoporosis by replacing lowering levels of hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. If you are considering hormone replacement therapy, have a discussion with your physician about the risks and benefits.
Ackerman Cancer Center is proud to offer a comprehensive breast care program to women in Northeast Florida - click here to learn about breast cancer screenings, diagnostic services, and treatments available at our locations in Jacksonville and Amelia Island.
If you have questions about breast cancer prevention or breast cancer treatment options, call us at 904-880-5522.