If you’re worried about getting breast cancer, you might be wondering if there are things you can do to lower your chances. Some things that make breast cancer more likely, like having family members who had it, can’t be changed. But you can make everyday choices to reduce your risk.
What can be done to reduce the risk of breast cancer?
Studies have found that making changes in your daily life can help reduce the chances of developing breast cancer, even if you’re at a higher risk. To lower your risk:
- Limit Alcohol Consumption: Cut back on alcohol. Drinking more alcohol increases your chances of getting breast cancer. Based on research, it’s advised to have no more than one drink per day, as even a little can raise your risk.
- Keep a healthy weight: If you’re already at a healthy weight, aim to stay there. If you need to shed some pounds, consult your doctor for safe ways to do it. Gradually cut down on daily calorie intake and slowly add more exercise to your routine.
- Stay active: Being physically active can help you keep a healthy weight, which in turn lowers your risk of breast cancer. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, along with strength training at least twice a week.
- Consider breastfeeding: Breastfeeding could have a part in preventing breast cancer. The longer you breastfeed, the more it can help protect you.
- Use caution with postmenopausal hormone therapy: Taking a combination of hormones may raise your risk of breast cancer. Have a discussion with your doctor about the pros and cons of hormone therapy. There are non-hormonal treatments and medications that can help manage your symptoms. If you choose to use short-term hormone therapy, go for the lowest effective dose and keep your doctor informed about how long you’re taking them.
Can breast cancer be prevented by a healthy diet?
Eating a healthy diet could lower the chances of getting some types of cancer, like breast cancer, along with diabetes, heart problems, and strokes. For instance, women who follow a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts might have a lower risk of breast cancer. This diet is all about plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, and nuts. People who go for the Mediterranean diet pick good fats like olive oil instead of butter and opt for fish instead of red meat.
Staying at a healthy weight is also really important for preventing breast cancer.