Worldwide, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer after lung cancer, and it is the fifth most common cause of cancer death. Breast cancer, which starts in the cells of the breast in men and women, is by far the most common cancer among women. Its incidence rate is more than twice that of colorectal cancer and cervical cancer and about three times that of lung cancer. However, breast cancer mortality worldwide is just 25 percent greater than that of lung cancer in women. In 2005, breast cancer caused 502,000 deaths worldwide.   

Even though there is no cure for cancer, there are certainly ways to help lower your risk of acquiring the disease. Here are the top three ways you can help protect yourself against breast cancer:

  • Limit weight gain, or lose weight.

    Researchers estimate that one-fourth to one-third of breast cancers in postmenopausal women may be due to physical inactivity and excess weight or obesity. Limiting weight gain during childhood and adulthood is likely to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Losing weight if overweight may also reduce risk.
  • Get screened.

    Mammography is the best available method to detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage-an average of one to four years before a woman can feel a lump. Women 40 years or older should have a screening mammogram every one to two years.
  • Stay active.

    Regular physical activity is likely to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Remain active and in healthy shape. Community efforts to increase physical activity, such as school-based physical education programs and creation of walking trails, can contribute to increased physical activity.