One in eight American women will develop breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosis in women after skin cancer.
Recent advancements in research and cancer treatments mean that more and more women are beating breast cancer, but treatment is still most effective when the cancer is diagnosed early. To prevent getting breast cancer or to identify it early, it’s important to learn the risk factors for breast cancer and get regular physical exams.
Some common risk factors for breast cancer include being female, getting older, and a family history of breast cancer. While you don’t have control over all the risk factors for breast cancer, there are a number of factors you can control.
The team at Eve Medical of Miami is here to help you learn more about how to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Read on to learn five tips that can help you prevent developing breast cancer.
1. Get regular physical activity
Most women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly. That’s 30 minutes of activity five days a week. In addition to aerobic exercise, you should do strength training at least twice a week.
Maintaining an active lifestyle can help you achieve a healthy weight and prevent breast cancer. If you aren’t used to getting that much physical activity, start slowly and check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Strive to maintain a healthy weight throughout your life to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer and other cancers. Follow a regular exercise routine and healthy diet to help keep the weight off.
Being overweight or obese, particularly after menopause, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Calculate your body mass index (BMI) to get a better understanding of your weight. If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.5, you’re at a healthy weight. If it’s between 25 and 29.9, you’re overweight. And if it’s above 30, that indicates obesity.
3. Drink alcohol in moderation
To lower your risk for developing breast cancer, limit your alcohol consumption to one drink per day or less. One alcoholic drink typically equals one of the following:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of hard liquor
Research shows that women who have 2-3 alcoholic drinks per day are nearly 20% more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don’t drink alcohol. To reduce your risk, limit the number of alcoholic drinks you consume.
4. Use hormone replacement therapy carefully
Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment to manage the symptoms of menopause. Estrogen, often combined with progesterone, is effective in relieving negative side effects, such as hot flashes, vaginal discomfort, and more.
However, estrogen supplements can increase your risk of developing breast cancer when taken long-term. If you use hormone replacement therapy, it’s often recommended to limit the dosage to the smallest amount that works for you and to undergo treatment for no more than 3-5 years.
5. Get regular breast exams
Becoming familiar with your breasts and your health risks is a good way to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Breast exams are a part of your annual well-woman exam at Eve Medical of Miami.
Perform regular self-examinations and make an appointment with a doctor if you notice any lumps, changes in appearance, or discomfort. Beginning at age 40, women should consider getting annual or bi-annual mammograms. While mammogram screenings don’t prevent cancer, they can help identify changes in breast tissue early. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more effective treatment can be.
To learn more ways to prevent breast cancer, book an appointment online or over the phone with Eve Medical of Miami today.