Opinions are divided over the matter of breast cancer prevention, however, it is universally known that your chances of developing cancer are highly influenced by your lifestyle. Knowledge about cancer prevention is growing every day but small changes in your habits can make a huge difference. Even though breast cancer can affect young women – 1 in 227 women around the age of 30 will be diagnosed with breast cancer (that is a 0.44%) – there is no doubt that the risk increases as you get older.
Nevertheless this does not mean that you should ignore the threat in between, especially if there is a family history of the disease. Deciding what form should this vigilance would have, can prove particularly difficult: should you change your lifestyle, start getting mammograms earlier, or undergo a preventive mastectomy like famous actress Angelina Jolie recently did? Some of these options cannot apply for all women and must be decided on a case by case basis. Things are not that simple and even if you don’t have a family history of cancer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned. According to the American Cancer Society, only 5 to 10% of women who develop breast cancer have a family history of the disease. That is why it is so important to take responsibility for your health – the sooner you start, the better!
Here are 5 useful tips that may save your life. Take responsibility!
Be physically active
Work out at least three to four times per week – five to seven is even better – and lose any extra pounds. If you’re overweight, the risk is increased because fat cells produce estrogen and other hormones that can cause breast cancer cells growth.
Smoking not only damages your lungs but there is more and more evidence that long-term smoking increases the risk of breast cancer, especially in women who started smoking in early age.
Reduce alcohol consumption
Studies suggest that alcohol in moderation – up to 15g a day for women or 30g for men – can help prevent heart disease. However, while small quantities of alcohol have beneficial effects, heavy drinking has adverse results especially with regard to breast cancer. Research shows that the risk of breast cancer increases by 7% for each glass you consume a day, so your maximum alcohol consumption should be limited to three drinks per week.
Increase vitamin D intake
Correlating low vitamin D levels with increased risk of breast cancer needs further study, but it probably plays an important role in maintaining a normal development of breast cells. Vitamin D is naturally made by your body when you are exposed to the sun and it is naturally found in foods like cod liver oil, fortified cereals, oysters, fatty fish, black and red caviar, eggs or mushrooms.
Consume organic dairy products
The use of artificial growth hormones in dairy cows is linked with the risk of breast cancer. They can be found in milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products so it is advised to choose organic and lean dairy products, as hormones usually remain in the milk fat.
- Breast self-examination
- Clinical breast examination by a doctor
- Mammograms and other breast imaging procedures