Six Quick Tips to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Breast cancer cannot be prevented, but there are things that you can do to reduce breast cancer risk. Making the appropriate lifestyle changes and visiting with healthcare professionals are key in maintaining good breast health and lowering your risk for breast cancer.

Understanding what you're up against is half the battle. The more you know about breast cancer, the more you can do to reduce breast cancer risk. Click To Tweet

Educate yourself

Did you know that most cases of breast cancer aren’t hereditary? You can develop breast cancer even if you don’t have a family history of the disease. Only 5% to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary. It’s important to know that you’re at a higher risk for breast cancer if you’re born with certain gene mutations, like BRCA1 and BRCA2.  But, you also need to know that you’re not safe from the disease if there is not a history of breast cancer in your family.

The more you learn about breast cancer the more that you can do to protect yourself from the disease.

Manage a healthy weight

Women who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for breast cancer, especially post-menopause. The more fat tissue you have after menopause, the higher your estrogen levels; most estrogen comes from fat tissues after menopause.

Eat the right portion sizes, exercise every day, and eat a healthy diet. Diets high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods are associated with a lower risk for breast cancer.

Regular exercise also reduces breast cancer risk. Women need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week.

Mothers should breastfeed

Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce breast cancer risk. An analysis of almost 50 studies found that mothers who breast fed for a lifetime total of one year were slightly less likely to develop breast cancer than women who never breast fed. If a mother breast fed for a lifetime total of two years, she received twice the benefit. Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of more than two years saw the greatest reduction in breast cancer risk.

Avoid unhealthy habits

Give up smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, or never start in the first place. Tobacco use increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Women who consume three alcoholic drinks per week are 15% more likely to develop breast cancer.

Know your risk for breast cancer

Your personal risk, or absolute risk, for developing cancer determines the type of care you should seek. One out of every eight women develops breast cancer, but this doesn’t mean that every woman has a 12% likelihood for developing breast cancer.

Some women are at a higher risk for cancer than others. The Breast Center offers a Breast Cancer Risk Quiz to help you determine your personal risk for cancer, and help make sure that you get the care that you need.

Start screening at 40

The Breast Center recommends that women begin annual screening mammography starting at age 40. Mammograms reduce the rate of death from breast cancer. Screening mammograms detect cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable.

Contact The Breast Center in Northwest Arkansas to learn more about breast cancer risk assessment or breast cancer screening options. The Breast Center provides expert care for both men and women in three locations: Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Harrison.

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