Using every prevention tip can help to reduce risks or ensure a greater rate of survival from breast cancer. Little steps are easy to take and can have a significant impact on reducing breast cancer risk. What steps can you take today? Implement some or all of these breast cancer prevention tips today for a healthier tomorrow.
Obesity can increase your breast cancer risk, especially if you’ve gone through menopause and aren’t on hormone replacement therapy. Fight obesity by making exercise a priority. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfectly toned and hit the gym every day, but CDC recommendations indicate that you should be participating in moderate intensity aerobic activity (a brisk walk for example) for at least 150 minutes each week and strength building exercises at least twice each week. If your exercise is more intense, you can do less.
2. Eat Lots of Fruits and Veggies
Studies have found that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can cut breast cancer risk. As part of your healthy diet make sure you load up on cancer fighting fruits and vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, grapes, kale, grapefruit, and more.
3. Encourage Young Mothers to Breastfeed
Breastfeeding has been linked to a lower breast cancer risk, especially premenopausal cancers. Studies have found that women that spend at least one year breast feeding (combined amongst all children) were slightly less likely to get breast cancer than women that have never breastfed. Mothers with two years of total breastfeeding saw double the preventative benefit. The longer the breastfeeding, the greater the impact.
If young women are worried about the toll that breastfeeding can take on breasts, remind them that surgical options are available. Dr. Nina S. Naidu reminds her patients that, “A breast lift can be an effective option for reducing any breast sagging that can come from breastfeeding and implants can quickly restore lost volume.”
4. Cut Back on Alcohol and Stop Smoking
The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risks are for getting breast cancer. If you choose to drink limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Smoking of any kind is commonly known for being a big cause of any type of cancer, so if you do smoke it is certainly increasing your risks of getting breast cancer.
5. Know Your Breasts
When was the last time you performed a breast self-exam? Knowing how your breasts should feel can help you to find and take care of any potential problems early on. Breast self-exams are important and so is a bi-annual mammogram, even if you have breast implants. Dr. Naidu cautions, “All women, breast implants or not, should be making time for their recommended mammogram screenings. If you do have implants breast cancer might be a bit harder to spot, so talk with your imaging center in advance to be sure that the person doing the mammogram has the necessary experience working with implants.”
If You Do Get Breast Cancer
Not all types of breast cancer can be prevented, but if you notice a change in your breasts or have any concerns make sure you visit your doctor promptly. Today’s modern surgical techniques allow many women to keep their breasts, even with breast cancer and for those requiring a mastectomy, reconstruction is an option. If caught early, breast cancer is highly treatable and the prognosis just keeps getting better.
In addition to working with your oncologist and surgeon, you may want to consult a plastic surgeon prior to breast surgery. Often reconstruction can be performed at the same time as breast removal. Working with a board certified plastic surgeon from the start can help you to be more informed about your options when facing breast cancer treatments.
A few lifestyle changes now can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer in the future. Do your part to prevent this devastating disease, but also keep an eye out for any signs of breast cancer so you can catch it early should it occur. Caught in stage 1 breast cancer has a 100% survival rate. Let us all join together in the fight against breast cancer.
by: Dr. Nina Naidu