Statistics show that there is one in eight women who will most likely be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent the disease, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk. This article lists some of the most effective ways to help protect yourself from breast cancer.
Get regular screenings
One of the things you can do for your breast health is to get regular screenings. This means getting a mammogram every year starting at age 45. You may need to begin screening earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer. This is because your genes can lower your risk for the disease. Additionally, keep in mind that you should perform regular breast self-exams to avoid having to go through breast cancer surgery. This means feeling for any lumps or changes in your breasts every month. If you notice anything unusual, make sure to see a doctor immediately. The earlier you or your doctor detects cancer, the easier it is to treat.
Maintain a healthy weight
Overweight or obese women have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. This is especially true if you gain weight later in life. Most women diagnosed with the disease are over the age of 50, and they are more likely to be overweight. To lower your risk, aim to maintain a healthy weight throughout your adult years by exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet. Also, avoid crash diets or yo-yo dieting, as these can also increase your risk. Losing and gaining significant weight over and over again as well as drastically reducing your calorie intake for a short period are both ineffective and can be harmful to your health.
- Eat a balanced diet
One of the ways for you to maintain a healthy weight is by eating a balanced diet. Make sure to consume a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein in your diet. If possible, limit your consumption of processed foods, sugary drinks, and saturated fats. These are all unhealthy and can lead to weight gain. Additionally, try to eat more plant-based foods. These are packed with nutrients that can help protect you from breast cancer. For example, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale contain compounds that may help prevent the disease.
- Exercise regularly
Another way to maintain a healthy weight as you age is to exercise regularly. Exercise not only helps you lose weight, but it also helps you stay at a healthy number on the scale. Additionally, it can lower your risk of breast cancer. This is because it helps to keep your hormone levels in check. In particular, exercise can help lower levels of estrogen and insulin. High levels of these hormones have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
No, you don’t need to go to the gym to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Even moderate activity like brisk walking can help lower your risk. Make sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. This can be anything from going for a walk to playing tennis. If possible, find an exercise activity that you find enjoyable. This will make it more likely that you stick with it in the long run. For instance, if you love being outdoors, try hiking or biking.
Limit alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol is one of the most common risk factors for breast cancer. The more you drink, the greater your risk but even moderate drinking can increase your risk by as much as 20%. So, if you do drink alcohol, it’s important to limit yourself to no more than one drink per day. A drink is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or one and a half ounces of hard liquor. Additionally, you should avoid binge drinking. This is when you consume large amounts of alcohol in a short period. Binge drinking can increase your risk of breast cancer even more. If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start.
Smoking doesn’t do any wonders for your health. It increases your risk of developing several different cancers, including breast cancer. Studies show that smokers are up to six times more likely to develop the disease than non-smokers. Hence, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Rest assured that many resources are available to help you quit smoking. For example, you can try nicotine replacement therapy or talk to your doctor about prescription medications. Nicotine replacement therapy involves using products like patches or gum to help reduce your cravings. Prescription medications, on the other hand, work by blocking the effects of nicotine.
Manage your stress levels
Stress can have many adverse effects on your health. It can make you more likely to develop chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, it can increase your risk of cancer. This is because stress can cause changes in your hormone levels. For instance, it can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. In turn, this can promote the growth of cancer cells. Therefore, it’s crucial to find ways to manage your stress levels. This can be anything from exercise and meditation to spending time with friends and family.
The good news is there are many ways to manage your stress levels. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. It helps to improve your mood and increase endorphins, hormones that can boost your mood. Meditation is another effective stress-buster. It involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breath. This can help to clear your mind and relax your body. Additionally, spending time with loved ones can help reduce stress. This is because social support can help to improve your mood and reduce anxiety. Find the stress-management method that works best for you and make it a part of your daily routine.
These are just a few ways to lower your risk of breast cancer. Making simple lifestyle changes can help keep yourself healthy and reduce your chances of developing this disease. So, what are you waiting for? Start making these changes today and enjoy a healthier tomorrow. You can make a big difference in your health with a little effort.