When it comes to health, men and women have different needs. For instance, if you were born female, you are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer than your male counterpart. In the United States, breast cancer is second to skin cancer in being the most common cancer among women. But can you prevent breast cancer?
Unfortunately, you can’t – but there are things you can do to lower your chances of getting it. A few tips can help lower your risk for breast cancer and boost your overall health at the same time.
Maintain a healthy weight
To reduce the risk of breast cancer, it’s important to maintain a healthy body weight. This is especially true as you get older. If you’re wondering how to prevent breast cancer naturally, you can start by eating nutritious foods. Some research has shown that a healthy diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables can lower your risk for breast cancer. Other things you can do to improve your diet and boost breast health include:
- Eating plenty of calcium-rich foods, like leafy greens and Greek yogurt
- Replacing red meat with fish or poultry, which are lower in saturated fat
- Choosing whole grain products over white pasta, rice and bread
Being physically active is another way to maintain a healthy body weight. Shoot for at least 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise. To make sure exercise is moderate in intensity, you should be able to have a conversation but not sing a song while doing it. To ensure regular exercise, it helps to find activities you enjoy, whether it’s a brisk walk around your neighborhood or a game of tennis with a friend.
Limit how much alcohol you drink
Studies show that drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, even at low levels. If you don’t drink alcohol, great. If you do drink alcohol, try to limit the amount to one drink per day. Typically, one drink of alcohol equals:
- 5 ounces of wine at 12 percent alcohol
- 12 ounces of beer at 5 percent alcohol
- 5 ounces of liquor at 40 percent alcohol (80 proof)
Stay up to date on your health screenings
Although you can’t prevent breast cancer entirely, you can take steps to ensure that you are on top of your breast health. While getting regular mammograms is one of the best ways to catch breast cancer early, they’re not recommended for women without a known family history of breast cancer until age 40.
Performing regular breast self-exams are an important part of breast cancer detection, especially in the early stages.
Take medicine to lower breast cancer risk
Your genes may also play a part in the prevention of breast cancer. If your mother, aunt or grandmother had breast cancer, your chances of getting it will be higher. Medicines that block the action of estrogen can help reduce breast cancer risk for some women who are at higher risks. If you have breast cancer in your family, find out which, if any, medicine may be right for you. These medicines can have serious side effects like weight gain, chest pain and leg swelling.
Talk to your doctor
Early detection is key to fighting breast cancer, which includes understanding your risk factors for breast cancer and getting regular mammograms. Take advantage of these tips on how to lower your risk of breast cancer and check out the breast cancer services offered through Bon Secours.
Learn about the cancer care services we offer at Bon Secours.