The 10 Breast Com­mand­ments Re­duce your risk of breast can­cer

Around one in eight women will de­velop breast can­cer, but you can re­duce your risk. To mark Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month, read our top 10 tips!

My Weekly - - Contents -

1 YOU SHALL… MAIN­TAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT

“Be­ing over­weight is the big­gest pre­ventable cause of breast can­cer, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the menopause,” warns Eluned Hughes, head of pub­lic health at Breast Can­cer Now. “Check your BMI (Body Mass In­dex) and mea­sure your waist – as stor­ing ex­cess weight around your mid­dle can par­tic­u­larly im­pact on your risk. Take ac­tion if it’s over 31.5 inches.”

2 YOU SHALL… BE BREAST AWARE

Down­load the free Breast Can­cer Now app and get into the habit of do­ing a breast self-ex­am­i­na­tion once a month to fa­mil­iarise your­self with how your breasts nor­mally look and feel. Check for lumps, dim­pled or puck­ered skin and nip­ple changes, such as in­ver­sion, dis­charge or a rash. If de­tected early, breast can­cer can be suc­cess­fully treated.

3

YOU SHALL… BE MORE AC­TIVE

“We know that be­ing ac­tive de­creases breast can­cer risk,” says Eluned. “That means any­thing that gets you feel­ing warm, breath­ing harder and makes your heart beat faster.” It doesn’t have to mean join­ing a gym – it could be vig­or­ous house­work, gar­den­ing or a brisk walk. Aim for 30 min­utes every day, and find ways to build more ac­tiv­ity into your lifestyle.

4 YOU SHALL… EAT LESS MEAT

Fat con­sump­tion, es­pe­cially a lot of an­i­mal fat and pro­cessed red meat, may in­crease the risk of breast can­cer – so aim to get your es­sen­tial fats from fish, nuts, chick­peas and av­o­ca­dos. And in­creas­ing folic acid up­take (from dark, leafy greens, as­para­gus, broc­coli, cit­rus fruit, beans, peas and lentils, av­o­ca­dos, car­rots, beets and squash) can help re­duce your risk.

5

YOU SHALL… DRINK LESS AL­CO­HOL

Drink­ing al­co­hol in­creases breast can­cer risk – and the more you drink, the more your risk in­creases, prob­a­bly be­cause al­co­hol can change hor­mone pat­terns, ex­plains Eluned. “Un­for­tu­nately, there is no safe limit – so tr y and cut back by hav­ing al­co­hol-free nights dur­ing the week and drink­ing less at the week­end to stay within the rec­om­mended guide­lines of 14 units per week.”

6 YOU SHALL… GET SOME SUN

Vi­ta­min D – pro­duced in the body when ex­posed to nat­u­ral sun­light – is thought to have sev­eral anti-can­cer ac­tions. And a re­cent study found those with high lev­els of Vi­ta­min D had a 22% lower chance of de­vel­op­ing breast can­cer.

7 YOU SHALL… RE­DUCE STRESS

Stress not only im­pacts on over­all health, it can lead to un­healthy lifestyle habits that con­trib­ute to can­cer risk, such as a bad diet, smok­ing and drink­ing al­co­hol. Find a healthy stress re­liever that works for you – whether it’s med­i­ta­tion or yoga, a bath and a good book or hav­ing a re­lax­ing fa­cial or back mas­sage.

8 YOU SHALL… THINK ABOUT A FISH OIL SUP­PLE­MENT

A study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Can­cer, Epi­demi­ol­ogy, Biomark­ers and Preven­tion found that post-menopausal women who took the sup­ple­ments re­duced breast can­cer risk by a third. It’s thought fish oils may re­duce in­flam­ma­tion which may pre­vent cells from be­com­ing dam­aged and turn­ing can­cer­ous.

9

YOU SHALL… SEE YOUR GP IF THERE’S A FAM­ILY HIS­TORY

Pre­ven­ta­tive drugs, such as Tamox­ifen, should be of­fered to those women at a higher breast can­cer risk due to their fam­ily his­tory, says Eluned. “If you have a close fe­male rel­a­tive di­ag­nosed at a young age, or a male rel­a­tive with breast can­cer at any age, ask your GP about ge­netic test­ing.”

10 YOU SHALL… TAKE AC­TION!

If you no­tice any breast changes, don’t bury your head in the sand or wait to see if it goes away. In the ma­jor­ity of cases it will be noth­ing to worry about. But, if not, early treat­ment could save your life.

Yoga is a great way to un­wind

Get out for a walk

Ask about your risk

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