Breast cancer is a common type of cancer in women. Your risk of developing the cancer at some time in your life is about 1 in 8 (12%). The exact causes of breast cancer are not known, but there are several factors that increase the risk of this dreaded cancer. Many of these factors cannot be changed or controlled, but many lifestyle factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer can be modified.
[Read: How to Live With Breast Cancer]
Read to know what you can do to stay healthy and reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Limit alcohol: The risk of breast cancer is higher in women who drink alcohol than who do not. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol you drink; the more you drink, the higher the risk. Women should limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink a day to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Maintain healthy weight: The risk of breast cancer is higher in women who are overweight or obese than women boasting off a healthy bodyweight. The risk increases in women who become obese later in life, particularly after menopause.
Do exercises: Doing regular exercises can help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and being at a healthy body weight can help you prevent the occurrence of breast cancer. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running). You can consult your doctor or a physical trainer to know the right kind of exercises for you.
Breast-feed: according to research, breast-feeding may also decrease the prevention of breast cancer. The risk decreases with the time you breast feed; the longer you breast-feed, the greater the protection.
Discontinue hormone therapy: Studies have shown that a combination of hormone therapy for a long time increases your risk of breast cancer. If you are on postmenopausal hormone therapy, consult your doctor about other options to control your menopausal symptoms (such as night sweats and hot flushes).
Avoid exposure to environmental pollution: According to some studies, exposure to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in vehicle exhaust and air pollution, increases the risk of breast cancer though further studies are needed to establish this link.
These are some tips to prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer. An important aspect in the control and management of breast cancer, however, is mammography. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of United States of America, screening mammograms should be done for women older than 40 years. Women over 40 should have a screening mammogram every 1 to 2 years, as age is the strongest risk factor for breast cancer. The older a woman is, the higher is the risk of developing the disease. After from regular check-ups, be vigilant about breast cancer; if you develop a new lump or skin changes on the breast, consult your doctor.
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