Healthy ways to avoid breast cancer

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Reducing risk: Losing weight, eating well and exercising have a significant impact on women's risk for breast cancer. | Photo by napsnet.com

By this time of year, New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside for many people. But with spring right around the corner, why not show yourself some love by making your breast health a priority? One in eight women will get breast cancer, and now is the perfect time to take charge of your health.

Many women know the link between healthy habits — like losing weight, eating well and exercising — and overall wellness. But they may not realize that those same healthy lifestyle factors can have a big impact on their risk for breast cancer.

You may think that if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer, you’re not at risk. Last year, Angelina Jolie’s powerful story shed light on the importance of BRCA testing among women with a strong family history of breast cancer. However, unlike Ms. Jolie, 80 percent of women who develop breast cancer have little-to-no family history.

To achieve optimal breast health, here are some steps you can take to live your healthiest.

Maintain a healthy body weight. You probably already know that excess body weight could put you at risk for health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes or high choles­terol, but did you know that obesity and weight gain are linked to breast cancer? According to the American Cancer Society, obesity increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer that develops after menopause. This risk is about 1.5 times higher in overweight wo­m­en and about two times higher in obese women.

Get physically active. Nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t get enough physical activity. Getting a move on is good for your heart, but you might be surprised to learn that some evidence indicates that women who exercise regularly have a 10 to 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared with women who aren’t physically active. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.

Eat healthy. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight is to eat well. Aim for at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and fruit per day, and avoid processed meat and red meat.

Quit smoking. Quitting smok­ing is one of the best things you can do for your health. New research found that current smokers are at greater risk of breast cancer when compared to women who have never smoked.

There are some risk factors that you can’t control, such as family history, age or genetics. Until there is a breakthrough cure for all types of breast cancer, one of the best things you can do for your health is to focus on what you can control

Sources used in this story include:

National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association

Courtesy of napsnet.com