If breast cancer runs in your family, or you have previously been diagnosed with breast cancer and overcame it, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to prevent it. Although family history can’t be changed, if you make some lifestyle changes you may be able to lower your risk.
According to breastcancer.org, the risks for breast cancer include age, family history, genetics, personal history of breast cancer, radiation to chest or face before age 30, race/ethnicity, being overweight and breastfeeding history, just to name a few.
Continue reading for more things you can do to lower your risk for breast cancer.
Studies have shown that consuming alcoholic beverages increases the risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. According to cancer.org, “research has shown that women who have 2 to 5 alcoholic drinks daily have a higher risk of breast cancer than women who drink only 1 drink a day or not at all.” Limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
Smoking has been liked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women, according to breastcancer.org. Research has also shown there may be a link between breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women and heavy second-hand smoke exposure.
Research has shown that breastfeeding for one year or more lowers the risk of breast cancer.
Lack of sleep causes a disruption in the body’s biological clock. A 2012 study suggests that women may develop more aggressive breast cancer if they chronically lack sleep (cancercenter.com). Researchers asked 101 recently diagnosed breast cancer patients about the amount of sleep they averaged two years before diagnosis. They found, post-menopausal women who slept fewer hours had an increased likelihood of cancer recurrence. *See: 20 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Bed
“In an American Cancer Society study, women who spent 6 hours or more a day sitting outside of work had a 10% greater risk for invasive breast cancer compared with women who sat less than 3 hours a day, and an increased risk for other cancer types as well,” according to cancer.org. *See: How to Get Moving at Work
Studies have shown that post-menopausal hormones can increase the risk of some diseases while lowering the risk for others. Both estrogen only hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk for breast cancer. If you are concerned about the risks, it may be wise to speak with your doctor.