Breast Cancer Prevention: Reducing Your Risk of a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
POSTED BY Pink Ribbon Cooking / July 23, 2014
While there is no way surefire way to prevent breast cancer, there are many steps you can take to lessen your chances and put your body in the best position to avoid cancer.
Some current guidelines for cancer prevention are much the same as for other types of cancer:
- Be lean without being underweight
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes per day
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (oranges, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, cabbage)
- Limit red meat and avoid processed meat
- Limit alcohol to one drink per day
- Limit salty food consumption
- Avoid dietary supplements to prevent cancer
Diet and exercise play a critical role as they contribute to maintaining a healthy weight. Less fat means less estrogen and a decreased breast cancer risk, particularly in post-menopausal women.
Several studies have reported on the relationship between weight and breast cancer risk. In fact, an American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study concluded that weight gain as an adult was an even bigger risk factor than current weight for post-menopausal breast cancer finding that women who had gained more than 60 pounds after the age of 18 had double the risk of a post-menopausal breast cancer diagnosis.
Carrying around excess weight, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, a sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition and a family history of breast cancer can increase your risk.
Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director at the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center, says it’s never too late to get started on the right path to protecting yourself.
“We do know that breast cancer is preventable through a healthy lifestyle,” Politi said. “Breast exams, mammograms and genetic testing can certainly add to strategies that can help prevent cancer, although not fully.”
A good course of action in addition to healthy eating and lifestyle choices includes taking the right steps toward early detection. When breast cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent according to the National Cancer Institute.
The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40 and older have a mammogram every year, while women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of a regular health exam every three years.
John Lahtinen is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor who has written about policy, personalities, trends and new technology in the healthcare arena.
Follow him on Twitter @JohnLahtinen.