10 Ways to Decrease the Risk of Getting Breast Cancer

Be Active

Women who are physically active have less of a risk of many kinds of cancers including breast cancer. It helps to keep their weight down. Women who are a healthy weight have a reduced risk of cancer. Maintaining a normal weight helps reduce inflammation in the body, which can discourage the growth of cancer cells. Women should include 75 to 150 minutes of activity to their week through workouts. Being active can help protect a women for a variety of cancers in the body including breast cancer.

Healthy Eating

While healthy eating can keep overall weight in check, it's important to eat healthier because vegetables have cancer fighting properties. When you're eating more vegetables, you're staying away from foods like red meat, which can increase the risk of many cancers. Greens like broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cabbage have anti-cancer effects. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which blocks free radicals in the body. Eggplant contains nasunin, which is an antioxidant, cuts off blood supply to cancer cells.

Too Much Alcohol

While some alcohol has been proven to be good for the heart, it's not great for the risk of breast cancer. Moderate amounts of alcohol can increase a woman's risk for breast cancer. It's recommended that women have no more than one drink per day to get the healthy heart benefits of alcohol, but not the risk of breast cancer.

Breastfeeding

During the time when a mother breastfeeds, her breasts go through changes that can help reduce the risk of cancer. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the breasts are shedding tissue, which means that cells with potential damage could be removed. Along with the shedding of breast tissue, the body experiences hormonal changes during breastfeeding. In many women who are lactating, hormones like estrogen are reduced. Estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells.

Avoid Hormones

When a woman reaches menopause, she can lose some of the hormones that can reduce her risk of osteoporosis or heart disease. While estrogen or progestin can help to replace those lost hormones, they can increase the risk of breast cancer. Unfortunately, post-menopausal hormones come with even greater risks if they are taken long-term. It's important to discuss with your doctor whether you need to take them for a long time, or if you can take them short-term and supplement with other treatments.

Medications For High Risk

When women who are at high risk take drugs like tamoxifen and raloxifine, they can lower their risk significantly. These drugs have side effects, but they are approved by the FDA for preventing breast cancer. If you have a long family history of breast cancer, your doctor may want to discuss these drugs with you. You can also bring them up at your next appointment to find out whether it's an option for you.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills have many benefits like lowering the risk of ovarian, colon and uterine cancer, but it can increase the risk of breast cancer. As a woman ages, the risk is increased. Young women would be at less risk of developing breast cancer while on the pill than women who are over the age of 35.

Get Screenings And Exams For Breast Cancer

While not commonly thought of as a preventative measure, screening is the best way to find cancer early enough to be extremely treatable. A mammogram should be performed each year for woman over the age of 40. At each physical appointment with a doctor and gynaecological exam, the doctor should be doing a clinical breast exam too.

Every woman should be doing a self-examination while in the shower each day. When a woman is familiar with the normal bumps in her breasts, she'll know when there's a change that should be checked by a doctor. Early detection is important for fighting breast cancer and beating it.

Family History Of Breast Cancer

Women with a family history of cancer should be more concerned about receiving any diagnosis of cancer. Breast or ovarian cancer in the family can be a strong indicator that you may be at risk for developing breast cancer as well. If you don't know your family history, it's important to find out from other relatives or family friends who can fill in any gaps with information about whether anyone had breast, ovarian or prostate cancer.

Stop Smoking

Many people believe that smoking only impacts the lungs, but smoking accounts for 30% of deaths related to cancer. It can be quite difficult to quit smoking, but you can talk to your doctor about quitting. There are many programs that will help people quit too.Even if you can't quit completely, you can still see health benefits by cutting back on how many cigarettes smoked per day.