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5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

Posted by : on May 11,2017 03:41 AM
5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

Few things in life are as devastating as a cancer diagnosis and breast cancer is one of its deadliest manifestations. If you’re concerned about your risk for developing this disease, it’s only natural to wonder what you can do to prevent it. While there are some factors you can’t do anything about, certain lifestyle changes can make a tremendous difference. Here are 5 ways to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.

Learn to Manage Your Weight

Losing weight can be one of the most difficult challenges you ever undertake, but it might also save your life. Postmenopausal women who suffer from obesity have a 30-60 percent higher risk for developing breast cancer. While the opposite appears to be true for younger women, it can be hard to lose that weight after hanging onto it for several decades. The sooner you get your weight under control, the lower your risk for cancer will be later.

Exercise Regularly

The most obvious benefit of physical activity is that it can help you manage your weight. However, there’s more to what exercise can do. It also helps reduce levels of estrogen, which studies suggest plays a role in breast cancer development. Even postmenopausal women produce estrogen in their fat cells, which makes it particularly important for them to exercise and reduce the amount of fat in their bodies.

Avoid Radiation Exposure

Another important tip is to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation. The mammary gland is particularly vulnerable to the cancerous effects of radiation at a young age. While not all types of radiation are associated with cancer, special care should be taken with regard to UV (ultraviolet) radiation from excessive sun exposure and tanning beds. There are safer tanning alternatives on the market that don’t involve putting yourself at risk for breast cancer.

Since it is possible for breast cancer to recur, radiation therapy is sometimes a matter of concern. In most cases, radiation is not offered as a treatment option to a patient who received it during the initial treatment. Breast cancer recurrence tests can be administered to patients in the case to check if cancer has returned.

Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Everyone enjoys an occasional drink and that’s perfectly understandable. However, your risk for developing breast cancer increases with the amount of alcohol you consume. The primary reason behind this is that it contributes to higher estrogen levels, which as mentioned above, are linked to cancer. Alcohol can also damage the DNA in your cells and impede your body’s ability to repair the damage.

It should be noted that there is no “safe” amount you can drink to be certain that you are not harming yourself. Some experts maintain that women who consume 3 drinks per week increase their breast cancer risk by 15 percent. If this seems excessive, just remember that it’s up to you to prioritize your health by controlling your consumption.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking appears to have the greatest effect on premenopausal women, increasing their risk for breast cancer. Interestingly, postmenopausal women are not exactly out of the woods. However, research suggests that their risk goes up in response to heavy secondhand smoke.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, women undergoing treatment for breast cancer may be at risk for greater complications. Those receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer are at risk of greater damage to their lungs than what the radiation itself is responsible for. It can also complicate the healing process after surgery and breast reconstruction operations. For those on hormonal therapy medications, there is believed to be a higher risk for blood clots.

If you have been smoking for many years, you might find it very difficult to quit. Fortunately, there are many cessation programs available and information from major organizations like the American Lung Association is almost always free.

If there’s one thing these tips have in common, it’s that they all involve embracing a healthy lifestyle. While everyone is hoping for a cure in the near future, the present reality is that it’s still up to us to adopt healthy practices and avoid those that bring harm to our bodies.


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