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. The below simple steps can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Not every one applies to every woman, but together they can have a big impact.
Preventive Measures to Breast Cancer
1. Keep 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 – and Limit Alcohol
A healthy diet can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and limit alcohol. While moderate drinking can be good for the heart in older adults, even low levels of drinking can increase the risk of breast cancer. And with other risks of alcohol, not drinking is the overall healthiest choice.
4. Don’t Smoke
On top of its many other health risks, smoking causes at least 15 different cancers – including breast cancer. If you smoke, try to quit as soon as possible. It’s almost never too late to get benefits. You can do it. And getting help can double your chances of quitting for good: visit smokefree.gov or call 800-QUIT-NOW (in IL 866-QUIT-YES).
5. 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. For breastfeeding information or support, contact your pediatrician, hospital or local health department.
6. 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.