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Ways of Reducing the Risk for Breast Cancer

Patients who are concerned about breast cancer can decrease their risk of developing the disease with early detection. One can detect the early signs of breast cancer through a breast self-exam, which can help to identify any abnormalities in the breasts. The risk of breast cancer increases after the age of 40. Making simple lifestyle changes can help in reducing the risk of breast cancer even for people at high risk. Although breast cancer treatments are improving, there are ways of reducing the risk for the disease.

Here are some of the measures to take to avoid developing breast cancer:

  • Quitting smoking – Evidence shows a connection between smoking and the risk of breast cancer especially in pre-menopausal women. Quitting smoking can help reduce this risk.
  • Weight control – Being obese or overweight, especially after menopause puts you at high risk of developing breast cancer. By controlling or losing your weight, you lower your chances of developing breast cancer and also living a healthy life.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption – Consuming a lot of alcohol puts you at high risk for breast cancer. It is recommended that you take a maximum of one drink a day because even little amounts of alcohol can increase your risk.
  • Exercise – Regular exercising can help in maintaining a healthy weight and prevent breast cancer. Exercising at least 150 minutes every week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise combined with strength training will get you in good shape.
  • It is recommended that if you are breastfeeding, continue to do so for a longer time. Breastfeeding is known to have a protective effect on breast cancer.
  • Limit the dosage and time of taking hormone therapy – Evidence shows that taking hormone therapy for a long time (3 – 5 years) can put you at greater risk of breast cancer. Consult with your doctor about other available options or use lower doses and have the doctor monitor your progress.

When fighting to decrease the risk of breast cancer, one needs to be vigilant about its detection. Any small but noticeable changes in your breasts like skin changes or lumps in the breast should be a cause for concern. Speak with your doctor and discuss when to begin screening based on your history.

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