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Top 10 Strategies to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

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Updated October 02, 2008

What can you do to lower your risk of getting breast cancer? Here are some great ways that you can take control of an important aspect of your health and well being. Raise your defenses against cancer and give yourself a better chance of keeping and maintaining your good health.

1. Proper Diet For Good Health

Berry Heart
Synnove Godeseth - FOTOLIA
Eat a healthy diet. that is rich in fruits and vegetables, to take advantage of their antioxidants. Doing so can help prevent damage to your tissues. Look for these colors when buying vegetables: green, red, yellow, and orange. When shopping for fruits, choose from these colors: red, green, and purple. Here is a wonderful cookbook about cancer and diet.

2. Exercise For Prevention

There is a link between exercise and breast cancer prevention, as well as prevention of cancer recurrence. Doing regular exercise helps reduce body fat and improves muscle tone.
The American Cancer Society says; "Evidence suggests that one third of the 550,000 cancer deaths that occur in the United States each year are due to unhealthy diet and insufficient physical activity."

3. Stay Slim

Having extra weight increases your risk for breast cancer. Many breast tumors thrive on estrogen. Body fat can store estrogen, and on a high-fat diet, your estrogen levels can increase beyond normal. Adopting a low-fat diet or a vegetarian diet can help reduce the amount of estrogen in your body. If you want to try a vegetarian diet, it will eliminate your intake of animal fats and reduce the saturated fats in your diet. Don't give cancer a good place to hide.

4. Stop Smoking

Tobacco smoke carries carcinogens, which can accumulate in fluid around the breasts. Active smoking can greatly raise your risk of breast and lung cancers, and passive smoking may also raise your risk. Get help to kick the habit and improve your long-term health. The evidence is piling up for a link between smoking and breast cancer. It's another good reason to stop smoking.

5. Drink Less Alcohol

Regular and modest amounts of alcohol can raise your estrogen levels. Even one drink a day can expose breast tissue to higher hormone levels. Since some breast tumors are estrogen-sensitive, alcohol can increase the risk that the cells in that tissue will become cancerous. Limit your intake to lower your risk. Read more to find out just how much alcohol is safe to consume.

6. Have A Regular Checkup

Have a regular checkup and communicate often with your doctor to stay well. Keep good records of your health. Request copies of any test results or screenings. Keep an eye on any changes in your health. Your doctor can help you keep an eye on critical areas, suggest proper diagnostic tests, and refer you to other experts.

7. Take Advantage Of Early Detection

Breast Self Exam:  Stroke Exam 4
National Cancer Institute
Screening for breast cancer has the goal of detecting possible tumors before they reach a palpable (easy to feel) size. Larger tumors are more likely to have spread beyond the breast. Detecting a small tumor (cancer at a very early stage) increases the effectiveness of treatment, and improves your chances of survival. Have an annual mammogram starting at age 40, as long as your general health is good. Do your breast self-exam (BSE) (BSE) on a regular basis.

8. Hormone Replacement Therapy - Good Or Bad

Current and long-term users of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, according the Feb. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 287, No. 6: 734-740). HRT was found to raise the number of breast cancers that are ductal and lobular. Talk with your doctor about whether HRT will benefit you, and what alternative therapies would be good to try. Estrogen and progesterone status can affect a diagnosis of breast cancer.

9. Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding combined with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding alcohol can help lower your risk. Both pregnancy and breast-feeding reduce a woman's total number of lifetime menstrual cycles, which is thought to be the reason that this helps lower your risk. Having children before age 30 also reduces your risk of breast cancer.

10. Maintain Good Emotional Health

A good attitude affects your overall health - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Build a good future for yourself by bringing balance into your life: healthy food and regular exercise combine to fight the blues and pave the way to a good attitude.
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