5 Simple steps to reducing breast cancer risk
For both men and women there are numerous risk factors which can mean you’re more likely to develop breast cancer. Some, like family history are challenging to influence. Others, like alcohol intake, can be minimised.
Reducing the number of manageable breast cancer risk factors in your life could lower your chances of suffering from the illness in the future. While there are certainly no hard and fast rules, a healthy lifestyle and a responsible approach to your body can eliminate risk factors commonly associated with the condition.
These 5 simple steps may help you reduce your breast cancer risk, while helping you to maintain an all-round healthy lifestyle with plenty of great health benefits
1. Quit smoking
This one is simple. Smoking is well-known to be extremely bad for your health. Now, accumulating medial evidence shows that there may well be a link between smoking and breast cancer. The research indicates that post-menopausal women who smoke are at an especially high risk of developing the disease. The sooner you can quit, the greater the health benefits.Ask your GP about quitting smoking or find support on the NHS Smokefree website.
2. Reduce your alcohol consumption
Hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer has a particularly clear connection with moderate-to-high levels of alcohol consumption in women. In fact, women who drink 3 or more alcoholic beverages a week are 15% more likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who do not drink at all. Stopping drinking altogether may not be practical or desirable, but reducing your consumption to 2 or fewer drinks per week could decrease your breast cancer risk.
3. Managing your weight
Obesity is linked to an estimated 9% of female breast cancers in the UK. A high BMI can result in higher levels of estrogen being present in the body. This is a serious risk factor for breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise will reduce your risk of developing the condition. The calculator below will help you to calculate your BMI, while this NHS guide can help you start your weight loss journey.
There is a link between women who breastfeed and lower levels of breast cancer. Choosing to nurse your child appears to have some protective effect against the disease, especially if you have children at a younger age. The reasons behind this phenomenon are still not properly understood, but the correlation appears to be clear. Learn more about breast cancer and breastfeeding here.
5. Get moving!
Regular exercise won’t just help you to maintain a healthy BMI, it can also have a big impact on your hormones. Your oestrogen and testosterone levels have a significant effect on your chance of developing breast cancer, and doing just 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week could help get your hormones into a healthier rhythm. Women who commit to this level of exercise could be 15-20% less likely to suffer from breast cancer. Keen to get active but not sure where to start? The 5BX workout is a popular exercise trend which helps people at all levels of fitness to get active.
Remember, breast cancer can affect anyone, male or female, at any time of life. Reducing your risk factors may lower your chance of being affected, but there is no way to prevent cancer. Performing regular checks is crucial. The earlier cancer is detected, the more effective treatment can be. To find out more about how to check your breasts please visit the Breakthrough website.