During the month of October, the messages about breast cancer awareness and early detection are clear. But what about prevention? Although there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer and though certain factors, such as age and family history, are out of your control, there are things you can do to lower your risk for breast cancer.
Change is good: Lower your risk for breast cancer
Studies show that making specific lifestyle changes can decrease breast cancer risk, even in high-risk women. Some of the steps you can take to lower your risk are:
- Limit alcohol. Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women have no more than one alcoholic drink per day. A drink is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
- Avoid smoking. Accumulating evidence links smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal.
- Keep weight in check. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal.
- Stay active. Increasing evidence shows that exercise reduces breast cancer risk. The recommendation for adult women is 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these) — ideally spread throughout the week.
- Limit hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. But if you and your doctor decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, use the lowest possible dose that’s effective for you.
Vigilant, compassionate care for breast cancer and more
If you’re concerned about your risk for breast cancer or have received a cancer diagnosis, the team at Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Central New Jersey Division is here for you and your family. Our highly specialized, compassionate physicians are wholly invested in providing the highest standard of personalized care for the treatment of cancer and blood disorders.