By Elizabeth DeGrie
With 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer during their lifetime, it’s likely the disease will affect someone you care about.
While breast cancer diagnoses and death rates have decreased in recent years, it is important to be proactive about prevention.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a few simple lifestyle changes have a huge impact in reducing your cancer risk.
Perform a self-exam once a month about three to five days after your period and discuss any changes with your doctor.
Maintaining your weight
Studies show obesity increases your risk, so it’s important to follow a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, exercise moderately for at least 150 minutes.
Mothers who breast-feed not only help give their babies a great start, they also decrease their breast cancer risk. The great news is the longer you breast-feed, the lower your risk.
The 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study revealed a correlation between hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer risks. Prior to 2000, breast cancer rates increased dramatically, then decreased rapidly as HRT use dropped. Birth control pills have also been connected with an increased risk for breast cancer.
Alcohol and cigarettes increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Avoid smoking altogether, and limit yourself to one drink per day.
Avoiding radiation and chemicals
Women should carefully consider radiation-based medical tests and only risk exposure when absolutely necessary. It’s also important to limit exposure to workplace chemicals, gasoline fumes and vehicle exhaust.
Many of these suggestions not only help with reducing the risk of developing breast cancer, but also other conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. A few changes today could add quality years to your life.