We’re in the fight of our lives as companies are working tirelessly to try to find a cure for breast cancer. Unfortunately, as of now, there’s no way to stop it. But there are things you can do to lower your risk of getting it. Protect your breast health with these five ways to reduce your risk.
You don’t have to run a marathon, but you can improve your overall health and lower your risk of getting breast cancer by getting up and getting active. Even for just 30 seconds a day! Try to avoid sitting as much as possible. The American Cancer Society encourages people to get up to 2 ½ hours of exercise each week. The goal is to work up to five hours a week.
If your job requires you to sit all day, try your hardest to get up and walk in the evenings. Play sports. Turn on the radio and dance. Find a form of exercise that matches your lifestyle. Biking, swimming and running are all excellent options when it comes to staying active. Exercise produces many health benefits and is also good for your heart.
Along with exercise comes eating healthy. Using the food pyramid as inspiration, make sure you’re getting several servings of fruits and vegetables a day and limiting carb intake. That means choosing strawberries and yogurt over bagels in the morning, and trying to cut out sodium, sugary sodas, juices and processed foods.
When you tweak your diet a bit it’ll also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is key to your overall health.
One of the biggest risk factors in developing breast cancer is being overweight or obese, especially after you hit menopause.
As you age, it’s natural for you to gain weight. If the amount of weight gain becomes unhealthy, it can contribute to many other health problems. Having more fat on your bones can increase the amount of estrogen your body makes, which puts you at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
Being overweight also increases your risk for diabetes and high insulin levels. According to the American Cancer Society, people with breast cancer tend to also have higher insulin levels.
Watch Your Hormones
If you’ve had a hysterectomy, your doctor might talk to you about hormone replacement therapy. Be careful and make sure you’re asking questions about what kinds of hormones you’ll be taking. Studies show that using a combination of estrogen and progesterone can increase your risk for breast cancer. If you can take estrogen only, it could lower your chances of developing breast cancer. However, if you have not had a hysterectomy, using only estrogen can create a risk for other types of cancers, such as endometrial cancer. Discuss what options are best with your doctor and find about other ways you can manage menopause symptoms.
You don’t have to give up celebrating milestones with a glass of wine or enjoying a happy hour beverage with a friend, but the American Cancer Society suggests that women should only be drinking one alcoholic beverage a day.
Drinking in excess or drinking more than what is recommended could increase your risk for developing breast cancer. Remember, most things are okay in moderation.
There’s no way to know who might develop cancer and who won’t. However, there are steps you can take to maintain a healthy lifestyle and lower your risk of getting breast cancer. NMC offers a healthy lifestyle campus where you can walk, run or bike along our paths and enjoy exercising every day. It’s free to the public and open 24/7.
NMC also offers 3D mammograms and other breast imaging services in our breast health center. If you have any questions about how these procedures work, please contact our imaging department.
Your health is our focus.