When it comes to breast cancer prevention, there are manyrisks that you can't control, such as your age or genetic makeup. Fortunately there are some breast cancer prevention steps that you can take on your own. Although these measures provide no guarantee that you won't develop the disease, they'll give you a start toward breast cancer prevention.
Among the easiest things to control are what you eat and drink and how active you are. Here are some strategies from the Mayo Clinic that may help you decrease your risk of breast cancer:
- Limit alcohol. A link exists between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. To protect yourself from breast cancer, consider limiting alcohol to less than one drink per day or avoid alcohol completely.
- Maintain a healthy weight. There is a clear link between obesity and breast cancer. This is especially true if you gain the weight later in life, particularly after menopause. Experts speculate that estrogen production in fatty tissue may be the link between obesity and breast cancer risk.
- Stay physically active. Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and, as a consequence, may aid in breast cancer prevention. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. If you haven't been particularly active in the past, start your exercise program slowly and gradually work up to a greater intensity. Try to include weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging or aerobics. These have the added benefit of keeping your bones strong.
- Consider limiting fat in your diet. Results from the most definitive study of dietary fat and breast cancer risk to date suggest a slight decrease in risk of invasive breast cancer for women who eat a low-fat diet. But the effect is modest at best. However, by reducing the amount of fat in your diet, you may decrease your risk of other diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. For a protective benefit, limit fat intake to less than 35 percent of your daily calories and restrict foods high in saturated fat.
Nothing you do can guarantee your life will be cancer-free. But if you practice healthy habits and consult your doctor about extra measures you can take, you may at least reduce your risk of this potentially fatal disease.