Breast Cancer Prevention: 5 Things You Can Do Today
With so many women being diagnosed with breast cancer every year, it may seem inevitable that you or someone you know will get it. The National Cancer Institute predicts almost 200,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year, and more than 40,000 will die. The good news is there are lots of ways to prevent breast cancer.
Read on for five breast cancer prevention steps you can take today to reduce the chances you'll become a statistic.
1. Don't drink. Alcohol intake, even in moderation is associated with increased risk of breast cancer and increased chance of dying from it. The National Cancer Institute says, "The level of risk rises as the amount of alcohol consumed rises." That means any amount of alcohol consumption increases estrogen production that may fuel tumor growth. It doesn't matter if it's wine, beer or a cocktail. Prevent breast cancer by sticking to sparkling water.
2. Watch what you eat. A healthy diet is an important prevention for all kinds of diseases but The Mayo Clinic says, "There's a clear link between obesity . . . and breast cancer. . . especially if you gain the weight later in life. Experts speculate that estrogen production in fatty tissue may be the link between obesity and breast cancer risk."
If you're overweight, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low fat dairy products can go a long way in breast cancer prevention through weight loss. Consume enough calories to stay healthy but aim to lose approximately two pounds per week until you reach a normal goal weight for your height.
3. Get Moving. Studies show, women who exercise are at lower risk for breast cancer than those who don't. Research done at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles demonstrated that women who engaged in strenuous activity for more than five hours a week had a 20% lower risk of invasive breast cancer and a 3% lower risk of early stage breast cancer, compared to women who participated in less than 30 minutes of such activity every week.
What's considered strenuous? Lap swimming, running, aerobics, kickboxing and more. Even if you don't engage in that much exercise, any amount of regular physical activity is proven to reduce stress, boost the immune system, and some studies say, reduce overall estrogen production. It will also help you keep your weight under control and boost your sense of wellbeing.
4. Hold the Hormones. The Mayo Clinic recommends women taking long-term hormone replacement therapy to help manage menopausal symptoms consider reducing or eliminating them. Studies show that long-term treatment with estrogen-progestin combinations increased the risk of breast cancer.
5. Clean Up The Chemicals. Some studies suggest that exposure to environmental chemicals, pesticides, cigarettes and overuse of antibiotics may increase risk for breast cancer. While the research isn't definitely conclusive yet, the links are there. Common sense tells us that if they're connected to other forms of cancer, they're not good for us and eliminating them will only help us be strong enough to prevent breast cancer too.
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