Health & Wellness

Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

According to the National Cancer Institute, women today have about a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed at some point with breast cancer.

SoFHA physicians want you to know that while you cannot change some risk factors such as family history and aging, some things are within your control. The list of tips below shares some suggestions for ways to reduce your risk of contracting the disease, and has been compiled from research data and leading experts and is worth heeding.

Get enough sleep. Make getting good sleep a priority, since not getting enough can affect your metabolic system and contribute to weight gain.

Watch your weight. It’s been shown repeatedly in studies that being overweight or obese increases the risk of getting breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life.

Exercise regularly. We also know that exercise is a breast-healthy habit. Evidence is growing that regular physical activity reduces breast cancer risk. The difference in risk between the most active and the least active women is typically around 25 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Avoid sitting after work. In studies published just last year (2015), it was found that women who spend six hours or more of free time sitting per day have a 10 percent greater risk of getting invasive breast cancer than those who sit less than three hours per day.

Avoid getting hormone replacement therapy. Getting combination hormone therapy (a combination of estrogen and progestin) for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you’re currently getting hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor for other options that might work just as effectively but won’t carry risks.

Limit alcohol and don’t smoke. Research strongly indicates that the more you smoke and drink alcohol, the more likely it is that you’ll develop breast cancer. Those who have 2 to 3 drinks a day have about a 20% higher risk compared to women who don’t drink alcohol.

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