Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the US, second only to skin cancer. Over 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Given these startling statistics, it’s more important than ever to learn about breast cancer prevention.
All women are at risk for breast cancer (and men too). It is important to learn how to prevent breast cancer and take steps to detect it early so that if you do have breast cancer, it can be treated in the early stages before it develops further. Read on to learn about simple things you can do.
5 Simple Steps for Breast Cancer Prevention
Breast cancer prevention doesn’t have to be complicated. In addition to annual mammograms and breast exams, you can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by including the following steps in your routine.
1. Healthy Diet
A healthy diet benefits your body in countless ways. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors, whole grains, fiber-rich foods like beans and peas can provide a variety of health benefits. Healthy proteins like chicken, fish, and turkey, can also benefit your breast health by keeping you at a healthy weight.
Being overweight is a risk factor for many different kinds of cancers, including breast cancer, especially post-menopause.
2. Regular Exercise
Along with your healthy diet, you also should exercise regularly. Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy weight and it also can reduce your risk of breast cancer. Physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help lower a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
3. Avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy is often used after menopause to replace estrogen and other hormones that decline after a woman goes through menopause. They can be used in the short term to reduce the risk of some diseases, but they can also increase your risk of breast cancer.
If HRT is necessary, they should be taken for the shortest time possible and women should take the lowest dose possible. If possible, try to treat any symptoms related to hormone deficiency with non-hormone-based treatments or therapy. Always consult with your physician to determine the best course of treatment for you.
4. Avoid Alcohol
Even small amounts of alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer. Excess alcohol is also related to other health conditions, so it’s wise to limit your alcohol intake to improve your overall health. If you want to consume alcohol in moderation, try to limit yourself to no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
5. Breastfeed If Possible
If you have children and are able to breastfeed, there is evidence that it can reduce your breast cancer risks. The longer you breastfeed, the more benefit it can have at lowering your risk. If you can breastfeed for at least a year, you and your children will both benefit.
Breast Cancer Prevention
While breast cancer prevention isn’t failproof if you are at high risk for breast cancer, these steps can help lessen your risk. Eating healthy, exercising, avoiding alcohol, and breastfeeding has many other health benefits as well. Making these lifestyle changes will only help you.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer, we provide comprehensive cancer rehabilitation services to help you in your recovery journey. These services include pain management, soft tissue management, and cognitive function care. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.