In 2022, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women are breast cancers.
Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence breast cancer risk. You can’t change some factors, such as your family history, but there are definitely lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk. In this article, we share with you four helpful ways to lower your risk of contracting breast cancer.
1/ Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk, particularly in adult women and after menopause. Maintaining a healthy weight is a key factor in breast cancer prevention.
A healthy eating pattern includes a variety of fibre-rich vegetables (beans and peas), fruits, whole grains, nuts and healthy fats such as extra-virgin olive oil. This will provide you with key nutrients in amounts that help you get to and stay at a healthy weight. In general, it is best to avoid or limit red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, highly processed foods and refined grain products.
2/ Squeeze in Some Exercise
Many studies have found that regular physical activity reduces breast cancer risk. Most healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week.
In addition, you should limit sedentary behaviour such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment. This is especially important if you spend most of your day sitting.
3/ Don’t Drink Excessively
Research has shown that drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. The general recommendation, based on research on the effect of alcohol on breast cancer risk, is to limit yourself to no more than one drink a day. This is equivalent to 350 ml of beer, 150 ml of wine and 45 ml of hard liquor.
4/ Get A Mammogram Every Year
Health screenings can’t prevent breast cancer, but it can certainly detect it at an earlier stage so you can treat it better. Regular mammograms are recommended for women over 40, but this can vary with your risk level. In general, women from 40 to 54 should consider having a mammogram scan done once every year, while women over 55 can do it once every 2 years.
With that said, it’s also important to have a regular conversation with your doctor about your risk of breast cancer so you can be better equipped at preventing the disease. And be vigilant: if you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor.