A breast cancer diagnosis is stressful and startling, no matter your situation. While you can’t change some risk factors such as genetics and aging, there are things you can do that may help lower your breast cancer risk. Today is a perfect time to take action to help lower your risk of developing breast cancer:
Ways to Help Reduce The Chance of Breast Cancer
- Healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of breast cancer (especially after menopause and for women who gain weight as adults). If you’re already at a healthy weight, try and stay there. If you’re carrying extra weight, try to lose a few pounds (5 to 10 percent of your current weight over six months is an excellent way to start).
- Exercise. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week (or a combination of both), preferably spread throughout the week. Try to limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down or watching TV.
- Limit alcohol. Try to cut out alcohol or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day (two for a man). A single drink equals roughly 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor).
- Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy. Taking hormones such as estrogen and progesterone had long been used for night sweats, hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. But in 2002, researchers found that postmenopausal women who took a combination of these hormones were more likely to develop breast cancer (your risk appears to return to normal within five years after stopping hormone replacement therapy). Talk with your doctor about all the options to control your menopause symptoms, and the risks and benefits of each.
- Perform breast self-exams monthly. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, see your doctor.
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