This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, know your risks of and prevent breast cancer
Breast cancer. Just reading those words can make many women worry. And that’s natural. Nearly everyone knows someone touched by the disease. But there is a lot of good news about breast cancer these days. Treatments keep getting better, and we know more than ever about ways to prevent the disease. These 10 simple steps can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Not everyone applies to every woman, but together they can have a big impact.
1 Keep Your Weight In Check
It’s easy to tune out because it gets said so often, but maintaining a healthy weight is an important goal for everyone. Being overweight can increase the risk of many different cancers, including breast cancer, especially after menopause.
2 Be Physically Active
Exercise is as close to a silver bullet for good health as there is, and women who are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep weight in check.
3 Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables
A healthy diet can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and keep alcohol at moderate levels or lower (a drink a day or under).
4 Avoid Too Much Alcohol
While moderate drinking can be good for the heart in older adults, even low levels of intake can increase the risk of breast cancer. If you don’t drink, don’t feel you need to start. If you drink moderately, there’s likely no reason to stop. But, if you drink more, you should cut down or quit.
5 Don’t Smoke
Smokers and non-smokers alike know how unhealthy smoking is. On top of lowering quality of life and increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and at least 15 cancers – including breast cancer – it also causes smelly breath, bad teeth, and wrinkles. Now that’s motivation to stay smoke-free or work to get smoke-free.
6 Breastfeed, If Possible
Breastfeeding for a total of one year or more (combined for all children) lowers the risk of breast cancer. It also has great health benefits for the child.
7 Avoid Birth Control Pills, Particularly After Age 35 Or If You Smoke
Birth control pills have both risks and benefits. The younger a woman is, the lower the risks are. While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. The risk of stroke and heart attack is also increased while on the pill – particularly if a woman smokes. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer and uterine cancer – not to mention unwanted pregnancy – so there’s also a lot in its favor. If you’re very concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one option to lower risk.
8 Avoid PostMenopausal Hormones
Post-menopausal hormones shouldn’t be taken long term to prevent chronic diseases, like osteoporosis and heart disease. Studies show they have a mixed effect on health, increasing the risk of some diseases and
It’s easy to tune gets out because it but said so often, healthy maintaining a weight is an important goal for everyone. Being overweight the risk can increase of many different cancers, including breast cancer, especially after menopause.
lowering the risk of others, and both estrogen-only hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. If women do take post-menopausal hormones, it should be for the shortest time possible. The best person to talk to about the risks and benefits of post-menopausal hormones is your doctor.
9 Find Out Your Family History
Women with a strong family history of cancer can take special steps to protect themselves, so it’s important for women to know their family history. First-degree relatives, such as mothers, sisters, and children, who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer, especially before age 50. If two first-degree relatives developed breast cancer, the risk is five times the average risk. Many close relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer, especially before age 50. Close relatives include grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and cousins. A family member who
Ahealthy diet can help lower the risk of breast eat cancer. Try to a lot of fruits and vegetables and keep alcohol at moderate levels or lower (a drink a day or under).
developed breast cancer in both breasts. A male relative who developed breast cancer. It is uncertain how much a woman’s risk of breast cancer is increased when a man in the family has breast cancer, unless this is due to an inherited mutation. A doctor or genetic counsellor can help you understand your family history of the disease.
10 Don’t Forget Screening
Despite some controversy, studies show that breast cancer screening with mammography saves lives. It doesn’t help prevent cancer, but it can help find cancer early when it’s most treatable. Clinical breast exams and self-exams are not recommended. But you should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel (see box on the last page).
Breastfeed, if possible. Breastfeeding for a total of one year or more all (combined for children) lowers the risk of breast cancer. It also has great health benefits for the child.
Other Important Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Unfortunately, there are also a number of important breast cancer risk factors that women have no control over. Knowing which ones apply to you can help you understand your risk and do what you can to lower it. If you feel you’re at high risk, talk to a doctor or other health professional. These can increase a woman’s breast cancer risk: Older age, especially 60 years or over First menstrual period (menarche) before age 12 Menopause at age 55 or over First childbirth after age 35 No children Tall height (5’8” or taller) Dense breasts History of benign breast disease (like atypical hyperplasia)
Foods To Prevent The Risk Of Breast Cancer
No specific food can cause or prevent breast cancer. However, dietary guidelines may help you reduce your overall breast cancer risk.
Green tea is tied to a number of benefits ranging from weight loss to blood pressure management. The popular brew has also been the subject of ongoing study for its role in cancer prevention. That’s because green tea is high in polyphenol and catechins. These antioxidants may help protect cells from DNA damage caused by free radicals. More research is needed to prove its efficacy, but there’s no harm in adding a cup to your daily routine.
Pomegranate juice, which is derived from its seed pulp, also contains polyphenols. One study suggests that pomegranate juice has the potential to be a preventive tool for certain cancers, including breast cancer. The researchers also proposed pomegranate extract as a viable alternative to pomegranate juice. The extract may carry the same benefits in smaller doses than the juice does. If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor before adding pomegranate juice to your diet. The juice is typically high in sugar and may affect your blood glucose levels.
Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, and black raspberries, contain high amounts of polyphenols, which may have anticancer properties. They’re also high in antioxidants, such as vitamin C. There is some evidence that berries may help reduce breast cancer risk. No current recommendation exists for daily dosage, though one serving of fruit is equivalent to 3/4 to 1 cup of berries.
Plums And Peaches
According to a study, the polyphenols found in plums and peaches may help prevent breast cancer cells from forming and later multiplying. Evidence suggests the polyphenols help kill cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
These vegetables are typically rich in antioxidant vitamins, such as C, E, and K, and are high in fiber. Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, a type of chemical. This chemical, as well as the other components found in cruciferous veggies, may have cancer-fighting properties. Popular cruciferous vegetables include: Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage.
Dark, Leafy Green Vegetables
The darker the green, the denser the nutrition. Greens are typically high in antioxidants and fibre, which may make them potent anti-cancer tools.
Carotenoids are found in many red, orange, dark green, and yellow fruits and vegetables.
These foods are typically high in vitamin A, lutein, beta carotene and lycopene, all of which might be effective against free radicals. Examples include: Carrots, tomatoes, kale, apricots and sweet potatoes.
Whole-grain foods also tend to be high in anticancer polyphenols. They often include other key nutrients, such as fiber, magnesium, and protein.
Popular whole-grain options include: Brown rice, oatmeal, corn, barley.
Part of the allium vegetable family, garlic is known for its distinctive taste and aroma. There may be a connection between increased intake of garlic and other allium vegetables, such as onions, and a reduction in the growth of breast cancer cells.
Most breast changes aren’t it cancer. But if is cancer, the earlier you find a change and have it treated, the better your chances – a whether you’re manorawoman.