How to prevent breast cancer is a knowledge every woman should know. A lot of cases reported in the hospital would have been averted if only those patients knew the symptoms or how to avoid cancer of the breast. Before we dive in, here are the Key facts you should know about Breast Cancer
- Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide after skin cancer. It accounts for 16 percent of cancers in women globally.
- It is the leading cause of death among women after lung cancer.
- Breast cancer affects both men and women, but it is more common in women compared to men. About 2,470 men will be diagnosed yearly with breast cancer, and only 460 will die from the disease.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women globally. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
- In the U.S., close to 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year and over 40,500 will die.
No one is immune from getting breast cancer and you can’t prevent breast cancer. However, some people are more at risk compared to others as a result of unavoidable factors such as age, gender, and family history. That said, having an unavoidable risk factor or more does not mean you will have the disease. There are many avoidable risk factors you can work on to minimize your chances of getting breast cancer. Read on to learn what you can do to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
How to Prevent Breast Cancer – 6 Tips Every Women Must Know
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Studies have shown that overweight and obese women – with a body mass index of more than 25 after menopause – have a higher risk of contracting breast cancer. Being overweight also increases the likelihood of a having a recurrence of breast cancer in women who had been previously diagnosed with the disease. This is as a result of the extra estrogen produced by fat in their body.
You must discuss with your doctor to decide what an ideal weight is for you, based on your activity level, height, and age. You must work to maintain a healthy weight that will lower your risk.
Stay away or cut down Alcohol Beverage Consumption
You can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by staying away from alcohol beverage consumption. This is hard, but research has confirmed that alcohol beverage consumption increases the amount of estrogen and other hormones linked with hormone–receptor –positive breast cancer. The more you drink, the higher your risk.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages that includes beer, wine, and spirit may also increase your risk of getting diagnosed by damaging the DNA in your cells.
Women who consume three alcohol beverages weekly have a 15 percent higher risk compared to women who do not drink.
Get Physically Active
All adults should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of energetic physical activity each week, says the American Cancer Society. You can minimize your risk of getting breast cancer by engaging in regular exercise for at least 20 minutes daily. This can include any form of physical activity that gets you warm and makes you breathe harder. Many studies carried out show that physically active people have a lesser risk of getting breast cancer. How being physically active lowers breast cancer risk is not fully understood. It is reasoned that physical activity normalizes hormones that includes estrogen and insulin, which promotes breast cancer growth.
Do away with Smoking
Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor of many cancers including breast cancer. Research findings from the Institute for Cancer Research in London showed that smoking can increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer by 35 percent. This risk is higher in women who started smoking in their teenage years.
Breastfeeding benefits your baby in many ways, and your health too as a mother by lowering your risk of developing breast cancer.
“Research shows that mothers who breastfeed lower their risk of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer. And, breastfeeding longer than the recommended six months can provide additional protection,” says Lindsey Wohlford, wellness dietitian.
The benefits to your health and baby become more if you breast feed exclusively beyond six months.
“Breastfeeding past six months is not only beneficial for your child’s health, but the longer you do it, the more protection you receive against breast and ovarian cancers,” says Wohlford.
During breastfeeding most women hardly experience any menstrual cycles, this added to the nine missed periods during pregnancy results in a lower estrogen level. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of getting ovarian cancer by preventing ovulation. Your risk of developing breast cancer decreases if you don’t ovulate.
Must Read: 8 Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Prevention Tips for Women at Higher Risk
The use of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene
Women at high risk of developing breast cancer can take prescription drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene to lower their risk of getting breast cancer. The FDA approved these two prescription drugs for breast cancer prevention.
The use of these drugs is associated with many side effects. You should discuss this with your doctor.
Based on current research, you can’t prevent yourself from getting breast cancer, but you can minimize your risk of developing the disease by adjusting your lifestyle habits.