Though the biggest risk for breast cancer is being a woman, it doesn’t mean nothing can be done to slash the chance of developing the disease. While there is a misconception that taking regular mammograms can prevent breast cancer, it is a myth. But the fact is regular mammograms helps detect the disease early and therefore can be treated before it gets worse.
Though there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, there are several ways which can reduce the risk of developing it. Here are the top ways to lower the chances of getting breast cancer.
It’s important to keep weight in check in order to stay healthy. Women who are overweight have a higher risk of developing many cancers, including breast cancer, especially after menopause.
Fitness is key to good health. Exercising every day at least for 30 minutes reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise also keeps weight in check. Therefore, make your own choice of exercise and stay physically fit.
Breastfeeding reduces a mother’s risk of breast cancer. Women who breastfeed their babies have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, especially those who continue it for up to two years. Breastfeeding reduces the total number of menstrual cycles a woman can have, exposing her to lower levels of hormones that are responsible for developing the risk of breast cancer.
Women with a positive family history of cancer have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. They need to take special steps to stay protected. Women whose family members have previously developed breast cancer should consult a doctor or genetic counsellor who can help them understand their risks due to family history of the disease and suggest preventive measures.
Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. So, it is important for women to monitor vitamin D levels regularly in order to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer. Women with low vitamin D levels should increase sun exposure and include foods that are rich in vitamin D in their diet.
Most of the women take post-menopausal hormonal therapies to prevent chronic diseases like osteoporosis and heart disease. But, they shouldn’t be taken for a long term as they have a mixed effect on health. They can increase the risk of some diseases while lowering the risk of others. And breast cancer is one of those diseases that might develop from longer sessions of post-menopausal hormone therapy. So, even if women prefer to take this therapy, it should be for the shortest time possible.
Birth control pills have benefits and risks as well. Women who take birth control pills have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than others. So, consider substituting oral contraceptives with other choices of birth control.
Besides lowering the quality of life, smoking increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and at least 15 types of cancer including breast cancer. So motivate yourself to quit. Getting exposed to second-hand smoke also increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, particularly if she is frequently exposed during menopause.
A healthy diet lowers the risk of developing breast cancer. Try to include a lot of fruits and vegetables in the diet and limit alcohol consumption to moderate levels. Women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, especially after menopause as the estrogen levels reduce. So, women who are overweight should make dietary changes to shed pounds and achieve a healthy body weight to lower the risk of breast cancer.