Prevention is better than cure they say. Prevention of breast cancer starts with you. As a woman, you need to develop a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Here are some preventive and lifestyle changes you can adopt to prevent breast cancer:
- Examine your breast every month: It is essential for every woman to know the normal way her breast feels and looks so that she can quickly notice when it’s not normal. A Breast Self-Examination (BSE) helps you do this. It also makes you know if your breast is dense; it is good to have it done every month. This is a very good preventive measure as it makes you breast aware thereby reporting any abnormal feeling early enough.
See video on how to perform a self-breast examination.
- Exercise more: Exercise has an effect on your entire wellbeing; it can help with weight reduction which in turn reduces cancer risk. It can increase the level of oxygen in your cells thereby making healthy cells that will not pose a health risk. Studies have found the more fat in a woman the more estrogen. Estrogen can cause cell overgrowth and cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. (or a combination of both.)
- Reduce alcohol intake: Alcohol intake has been seen to increase the risk of breast cancer in our earlier post “Breast cancer: what you need to know”. So women should try to avoid alcohol consumption as much as you can.
- Eat healthily: There are healthy foods that have anti-carcinogenic properties, fruits and vegetables are such and should be made part of our diet. Eating healthy foods can also make you control your weight which in turn would reduce your risk.
- Know your family history: It’s very important women ask questions about their family history as it concerns breast cancer. This will help keep you informed and you will follow the right step to prevention early enough.
- Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months also helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. According to breastcancer.org, there are several reasons why breastfeeding protects breast health:
- making milk 24/7 limits breast cells’ ability to misbehave
- most women have fewer menstrual cycles when they’re breastfeeding (added to the 9 missed periods during pregnancy) resulting in lower estrogen levels
- many women tend to eat more nutritious foods and follow healthier lifestyles (limit smoking and alcohol use).
American Cancer Society; breastcancer.org