How to Prevent Breast Cancer
(or At Least Reduce Your Risk)

Follow these tips to reduce your risk of contracting breast cancer

Developing breast cancer is a common worry among many women today. Around 13 percent of women in the United States will develop breast cancer during their lives.

Thankfully, when breast irregularities today are found early, breast cancer can be treated successfully or even avoided altogether. There are many things that women can do to lower their risks of breast cancer, but the following 5 prevention tips are among the most effective.

Tip #1: Schedule regular mammograms

We cannot stress enough how important it is for women to schedule regular breast cancer screenings and mammograms. When women should begin breast cancer screenings and mammograms depends highly on individual risk factors.

For example, women who are at higher risk should begin scheduling these appointments earlier than women who are at a lower risk. However, the average age that women need to consider beginning regular screenings and mammograms is around 40 years old. At this age, you should plan on a yearly breast cancer screening.

High-risk women should stick with yearly breast cancer screenings and mammograms throughout their lives. Be sure to discuss screening and mammogram programs with your doctor to determine what would be best for you and your history.

Tip #2: Quit smoking and drink in moderation

Most people know that smoking can increase your risk of many cancers, including breast cancer. Therefore, quitting smoking can help to decrease your risk.

However, fewer people realize that drinking alcohol can increase your risk of cancer as well. Although occasionally drinking red wine has been shown to be beneficial to the heart among older women, regular drinking can increase your risk of breast cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk of developing breast cancer increases as regular alcohol consumption increases.

For women who drink alcohol regularly and/or smoke, and who are concerned with breast cancer prevention, consider cutting down on your habit(s) now with the future goal of quitting altogether.

Tip #3: Maintain a healthy weight

Eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial to your overall well-being. More than that, maintaining a healthy weight can also decrease the risk of cancer, especially for women who are post-menopausal.

In addition to eating nutritious foods, another great way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight is to begin a regular exercise program. About 30 minutes of exercise each day can help to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Exercise doesn’t have to be rigorous to be effective. It can include such activities as walking or jogging, swimming, tennis, aerobics, cycling, dancing or yoga.

Tip #4: Reduce hormonal therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that includes estrogen can slightly increase your risk of breast cancer. You should discuss with your doctor whether the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks.

Tip #5: Consider switching birth control methods

While birth control pills may offer several benefits for some women when used long-term, they can also slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. Benefits offered by birth control pills include a reduced risk for pregnancy as well as ovarian, uterine and colon cancer.

It is essential to note that younger women who choose to take birth control pills are at a lower risk of breast cancer than older women. However, women of all ages who have a family history of breast cancer may want to consider other forms of birth control.

Breast cancer is a serious health issue that many women worry about. Fortunately, there are many ways you can do your part to prevent breast cancer. In addition to these useful tips, other effective methods for breast cancer prevention include self-exams, choosing to breastfeed when possible, and avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation and excessive environmental pollution.

If you have any questions, reach out to one of our compassionate well-woman care doctors at All About Women today. We can schedule an appointment at our Gainesville or Lake City clinic and walk through these prevention tips and more.