Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women, with nearly 1 in 8 women in the United States being affected by some form of this disease. While advances in finding treatments and cures have made a big difference, there are still steps we can all take to stay healthier, maintain a proper diet, and reduce our risk of getting breast cancer. By staying informed about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, along with lifestyle changes and simple habits that may help prevent it, you will be better prepared if faced with this disease.
Reducing The Risk Of Breast Cancer
With the increase in cancer rates across the world, it is important to know how lifestyle choices can impact your health and improve your chances of avoiding certain forms of cancer. Raleigh OB/GYN has put together a general guide for lifestyle tips that can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
1. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Not only does maintaining a healthy body weight reduce the risk of breast cancer, but it is also essential in leading a healthy lifestyle. When women are overweight, they have more fat tissue. This fat tissue can increase the chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer due to rising estrogen levels. The American Cancer Society suggests that if you’re holding extra weight, losing anywhere from 5-10% of your weight can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of breast cancer. Women can reach this goal by dedicating 75 to 150 minutes each week to low-impact exercise such as brisk walking.
2. Stay Active
The link between physical activity and cancer risk is mostly examined through observational studies. Cancer.gov suggests that exercise has biological effects on the body, which may be the reason for the relationship between physical activity and cancer, including
- Decreased levels of sex hormones that have been associated with cancer development
- Prevent high levels of insulin
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve immune system function
- Help to prevent obesity
Engaging in physical activity is good for your physical health, mental health, and can even reduce the risk of breast cancer. All adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, according to guidelines placed by ACS.
3. Breastfeed, If Possible
Breastfeeding is a magical, natural act that nourishes your baby and protects against allergies, sickness, infections, and certain diseases. Breastfeeding also can help reduce the risk of breast cancer in the mother. For every month that a woman continues to breastfeed her baby, the greater protection these women have from developing breast cancer.
4. Don’t Forget Mammograms
A mammogram is an X-ray that is used to examine breasts for diagnostic and screening purposes. Mammograms are often considered one of the most effective ways to help detect breast cancer at an early stage. Early detection is important because the individual is likely to have more treatment options. This increases a woman’s chances of surviving breast cancer.
5. Find Out Your Family History
Having a strong family history of certain diseases may increase your risk of developing similar conditions. It is important to gather information about those around you who are related by blood, including your parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, etc. Once you find out more about your family history, your doctor can refer you to a genetic counselor. Genetic counselors can identify through testing if you have a higher risk of a genetic disorder. For more information regarding family health history and ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer, visit the CDC.
At Raleigh OB/GYN, we are committed to providing care for all stages of a woman’s life. This includes necessary health screenings to monitor well-being and prevent illnesses. If you have questions about reducing the risk of breast cancer, contact us at 919-876-8225 or request an appointment online.