What Steps Are You Taking To Prevent Breast Cancer?
Women need to understand that they are at risk just because they are a woman. Breast cancer is not a death sentence if detected early. When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 98%! Education + screenings =early detection.
Every woman has a 12 percent chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some point in her life. In fact, of all the women you know, 1 in 8 will contract some form of breast cancer in her lifetime. If you're concerned about breast cancer, you may be wondering if there are steps you can take toward breast cancer prevention. Remember, prevention starts long before you walk into your doctor’s office, it starts at home.
1. Avoid becoming overweight. Obesity raises the risk of breast cancer after menopause, the time of life when breast cancer most often occurs. Avoid gaining weight over time, and try to maintain a body-mass index under 25 (calculators can be found online).
2. Eat healthy to avoid tipping the scale. Embrace a diet high in vegetables and fruit and low in sugared drinks, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods. Eat lean protein such as fish or chicken breast and eat red meat in moderation, if at all. Eat whole grains. Choose vegetable oils over animal fats.
3. Keep physically active. Research suggests that increased physical activity, even when begun later in life, reduces overall breast-cancer risk by about 10 percent to 30 percent. All it takes is moderate exercise like a 30-minute walk five days a week to get this protective effect.
4. Drink little or no alcohol. Alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Women should limit intake to no more than one drink per day, regardless of the type of alcohol.
5. Don’t smoke. Research suggests that long-term smoking is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in some women.
6. If you bear children, breast-feed your babies for as long as possible. Women who breast-feed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later.
7. Avoid hormone replacement therapy. Menopausal hormone therapy increases risk for breast cancer. If you must take hormones to manage menopausal symptoms, avoid those that contain progesterone and limit their use to less than three years.
8. Get regular breast cancer screenings. Follow your doctor or health care provider’s recommendations to decide what type of screening you need and how often you need it.