Let’s not beat around the bush. Breast cancer is a major issue in female health. According to the American Cancer Society roughly 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. It was expected there would be more than 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in 2015. These are figures to really sit up and take notice of. Breast cancer is non-discriminatory by age or by sex or ethnicity. Nothing can guarantee you won’t get it, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
1. Quit Smoking
One of the ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer, and many other types of cancer, is to quit smoking. There’s a strong body of evidence that suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk. In a study published in 2013, researchers found that women who smoked had a 24% higher incidence of cancer over the 13 year study, and a 13% higher incidence among former smokers than women who never smoked. The risk increases for those who started smoking while young, and is more pronounced in premenopausal women.
2. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
The more alcohol you drink the greater your risk of eventually developing breast cancer. Even small amounts of alcohol increase our risk, so there is no “safe” amount. Alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. As a result, women who drink as few as 3 alcoholic drinks per week may increase their risk by as much as 15 percent.
3. If You Have a Choice, Breast Feed Your Baby
Breastfeeding supplies a certain amount of protection against breast cancer, surprisingly. It’s also provides many immunities to your baby. There seems to be more benefits if your breastfeed for one year or longer. Some researchers speculate that making breast milk limits the breast cells from acting abnormally, women have fewer menstrual cycles which mean estrogen levels are lower, and many women tend to eat better when nursing. Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of Type II diabetes, ovarian cancer, and post-partum depression.
4. Control Your Weight
Not only does obesity increase the risk of breast cancer, but it poses a health risk in many other areas of your life. The risk of breast cancer increases of your obesity occurred later in your life, particularly after menopause. Women who have gone through menopause face a 30 to 60 percent greater risk, and have a 70 percent greater risk of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer, according to the Susan G Koman Foundation. Ironically, women how are overweight before menopause, although they still face health issues elsewhere, have a lesser chance of developing breast cancer.
5. Be Active
Not only does being active help you keep your weight in line, but it may reduce your risk of developing many types of cancer, including breast cancer. Not all studies show this benefit, but when the studies are looked at as a whole, women are shown to reduce their risk by 10 to 20 percent when compared to inactive women. To reduce cancer risk, the American Cancer Society recommends 2.5 hours a week of physical activity.
6. Take Precautions with Hormone Therapy
Combination hormone therapy for more than 3 to 5 years can increase your risk of breast cancer. Some women turn to hormone therapy to relieve the symptoms of menopause, but it might be worth your while to ask your doctor about non-hormonal therapies instead. If you and your doctor decide the short term therapy outweighs the risks, try to use the lowest dose possible that still works for you. Only use the therapy for as long as you are experiencing symptoms.
7. Limit Your Exposure to Radiation and Environmental Pollution
Many medical imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high levels of radiation. Only have these tests if absolutely necessary. Also, living in a polluted area can increase your risk of breast cancer, along with a number of other health concerns. According to studies performed at the Research Institute, the incidences of breast cancer sharply increased when women lived in areas of high air pollution.
Stay as safe and healthy as you can ladies. Your body is precious and you need to take care of it. Do you worry about breast or any other cancer?