10 Breast Cancer Prevention Methods

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women—aside from lung cancer. It is estimated that one in every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. While there are certain risk factors like genetics we cannot change, there are many lifestyle changes we can make to aid in breast cancer prevention.

1
Get Physical

Woman dancing and exercising
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Physical activity may reduce your risk of breast cancer. Studies by the Women's Health Initiative found that women who walked briskly one to two hours per week reduced breast cancer risk by 18 percent. Exercise doesn't always mean traditional gym exercises either. Check out the Top 10 Ways to Prevent Cancer Through Exercise for fun ideas.

2
Skip the Alcohol

Studies have determined that women who drink alcoholic beverages develop cancer at a higher rate. How much is too much? Based on studies, ladies who consume two to five drinks daily have about one and a half times the risk of women who don't consume alcohol.

3
Quit Smoking

Although there has not been a direct link between smoking and breast cancer, studies suggest that smoking at an early age can increase a woman's risk. Not only can it be a risk for breast cancer, smoking is a definite risk factor for lung cancer. Need help quitting? Click here.

4
Know Your Family History

Having a family or personal history of breast cancer may increase your risk. If an immediate woman in your family has had breast cancer, it is important to let your doctor know. Studies have shown that breast cancer can be genetic. Genetic testing and counseling is available for those concerned with their risk. Keep in mind, that just because your mother or sister had breast cancer, it does not mean you will definitely develop breast cancer.

5
Avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy

Studies have shown a link between long time hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer. This link suggests that combined HRT's (estrogen and progesterone) raise the risk factor. Five years after discontinuing HRT's, the risk factor drops. HRT's also make mammograms less effective. If you need to take hormone replacement therapy, talk to your doctor about the risk and your personal condition.

6
Examine Your Breasts Monthly

Checking your breasts every month may not reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, but it may help detect breast cancer early. The earlier breast cancer is found, the less aggressive the treatment. Take a look at "How to Perform a Self Breast Exam" to learn how to do an exam or to see if you are doing it correctly.

7
Keep a Low-Fat Diet

A diet low in fat not only decreases the risk of obesity, it can reduce your risk of breast cancer. We know that estrogen plays a major role in the development of breast cancer. Fat tissue contains small amounts of estrogen and may increase your risk. There have been conflicting studies about fat intake and breast cancer risk, however all studies have concluded that obesity plays a big part in breast cancer development.

8
Get a Mammogram

Like the breast self-exam, a mammogram won't prevent the development of breast cancer, but it can detect cancer. Sometimes it can be difficult to feel a lump in the breast and a mammogram is likely to detect any lumps that cannot be felt. and a mammogram is likely to detect any lumps that cannot be felt.

9
Conceive Early

Having no children or having your first child in your mid-thirties or later increases the risk for breast cancer.

10
Breastfeed

Researchers believe that the months without a period during pregnancy and breastfeeding may reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer. This accompanies the data that suggests that early menopause lowers the risk factor, as well. Skip the formula feed, and go breast!

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