Lifestyle factors play a big part in influencing your breast cancer risk. Take these steps on how to reduce your risk. Prevention begins with healthy habits.
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese, especially after menopause, tend to increase estrogen production. Estrogen, considered as a carcinogen, acts as catalyst for cancer growth.
2. Stay physically active. Getting a weekly total of 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise, plus strength training and stretching to improve balance and flexibility about twice a week, can help you keep in shape.
3. Eat a healthy diet. Consuming plant-based foods rich in whole grains and beans and incorporating brightly colored or strongly flavored vegetables and fruits can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Limiting red and processed meats, sugary drinks, sodas and foods high in fat and starch supports this diet.
4. Consider breastfeeding. Nursing reduces a woman’s lifetime number of menstrual cycles and cumulative exposure to certain hormones.
5. Limit or avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol in large amounts can increase estrogen levels and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Restricting to no more than 3 to 5 servings per week is recommended.
6. Avoid smoking. Puffing cigarettes put in toxins and cancer-causing chemicals in the body.
7. Manage stress. Pushing oneself to the limit destroys the immune system. Deep breathing and taking breaks from news and social media are helpful actions in managing stress.
8. Get regular checkups. Screening can help prevention and early detection. Likewise, tracing family history provides a heads up on possible heredity.