Health Matters Fall 2022 | Page 7

Seven ways to reduce breast cancer risk

Many women are concerned about the potential for developing breast cancer in their lifetimes . Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer among women in the United States and Canada . Despite that prevalence , there are ways for women to reduce their risk for breast cancer .
While it is impossible to change family history or genetic markers like gene mutations that increase breast cancer risk , the following are seven ways women can lower their risk .
1 . Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight . Physical activity and monitoring calories can keep weight in check . The Mayo Clinic recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity . Strength training at least twice a week also is recommended . Being overweight or obese increases a woman ’ s risk for breast cancer .
2 . Consume a healthy diet . The link between diet and breast cancer risk is still being studied . However , research suggests that a diet high in vegetables and fruit , and calcium-rich dairy products , but low in red and processed meats may lower breast cancer risk .
3 . Avoid or limit alcohol consumptions . Alcohol increases risk of breast cancer , even in small amounts . For those who drink , no more than one alcoholic drink a day should be the limit . The more a woman drinks , the greater her risk of developing breast cancer , states the Mayo Clinic .
4 . Undergo genetic counseling and testing . Women concerned about a genetic connection or family history of breast cancer can speak to their doctor about testing and counseling that could help them reduce their risk . Preventive medicines and surgeries might help those at elevated risk for breast cancer .
5 . Limit hormone therapy . Combination hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal women may increase risk of breast cancer , indicates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Similarly , taking oral contraceptives during reproductive years may increase risk . Women can speak with their physicians to weigh the pros and cons of taking such hormones .
6 . Breastfeed children , if possible . Breastfeeding has been linked to reducing a woman ’ s risk of developing breast cancer .
7 . Learn to detect breast cancer . Women should get to know their bodies so they can determine if something is awry as early as possible . Early detection of breast cancer increases the chances that treatment will prove successful .
Women can embrace various strategies to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer .
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