Healthy Tips to Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, with over 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. That translates into one in eight women who will get breast cancer in her lifetime. The good news is that survival rates today are higher than ever, due to advances in diagnosis and treatment. There are lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk of breast cancer or breast cancer recurrence.

7 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Breast Cancer

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

A healthy weight is defined by the body mass index or BMI. This is the ratio of one’s body mass (density) to one’s height = weight (kg)/ height (m2). A BMI of between 18.5–25 is considered normal or healthy weight for a given height. Having more fat tissue can increase your chance of getting breast cancer by raising estrogen levels. Recent research has shown that weight loss after menopause can decrease the risk of breast cancer in overweight or obese women.

Calculate your BMI:
https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html

2. Exercise Regularly

Eat at least five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts are particularly helpful in preventing cancer. They contain a powerful phytonutrient called sulforaphane, that has potent anticancer properties. Studies have shown that sulforaphane can help reduce the number of breast, prostate and colon cancer cells.

Increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in walnuts, wild caught fish, flax seeds, soybeans and pumpkin seeds. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to slow the growth and spread of breast cancer cells.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eat at least five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts are particularly helpful in preventing cancer. They contain a powerful phytonutrient called sulforaphane, that has potent anticancer properties. Studies have shown that sulforaphane can help reduce the number of breast, prostate and colon cancer cells.

Increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in walnuts, wild caught fish, flax seeds, soybeans and pumpkin seeds. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to slow the growth and spread of breast cancer cells.

4. Limit Alcohol

Women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

5. Maintain Adequate Vitamin D3 Levels

Women with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of developing breast cancer and breast cancer survivors with low vitamin D levels may have a greater risk of disease recurrence.

6. Limit Sugars in Your Diet

Eating a diet high in refined sugars, fats and carbohydrates leads to higher levels of insulin which can encourage cancer growth. A diet high in sugar can lead to insulin resistance and increase your body fat. As body fat increases, so does your level of estrogen which can increase your risk of breast cancer. Moreover, highly refined sugars also promote inflammation which can decrease your body’s ability to combat cancer.

7. Have Regular Breast Cancer Screenings

For women with an average risk of breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends:

  • Women age 40 to 44 should consider annual mammograms
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get annual mammograms
  • Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or have the choice to continue annual screening
  • Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or have the choice to continue annual screening 

Women with a high breast cancer risk should discuss beginning screening earlier. For these women, the American Cancer Society recommends beginning annual screening mammograms at age 30.

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