October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, in this day, this disease has affected all of us by knowing someone who has struggled with it, or you have experienced it first hand.
How can each of us take a few simple steps to decrease our risk of breast cancer and encourage our loved ones to do the same? Let’s look at some healthy habitudes that are easy to adopt and live by!
Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol — including beer, wine or liquor — limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.
Don’t smoke. Accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women. In addition, not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
Breast-feed. Breast-feeding may play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. You may be able to manage your symptoms with nonhormonal therapies, such as physical activity. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, use the lowest dose that works for you.
Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high doses of radiation, which have been linked with breast cancer risk. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary. While more studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and exposure to the chemicals found in some workplaces, gasoline fumes and vehicle exhaust. –mayoclinic.com
Here is a great printable resource guide by Dr. Ann that includes many tips on how to decrease the risk of breast cancer.
If you are looking for some specific foods to add to your diet to help decrease your risk of this cancer- consider eating more fiber, omega 3’s, cruciferous vegetables, and folate-filled foods.
Exercise is key to decrease the risk of many diseases- breast cancer included. Several recent studies suggest that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of the cancer coming back, and a longer survival after a cancer diagnosis, said Kerry Courneya, Ph.D., professor and Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Cancer at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. –webmd.com
I have known some individuals and have heard some gripping stories of extremely health contentious people who seemingly do everything right. Despite valiant efforts towards wellness, sometimes friends are still struck down by cancer. At the end of the day, each of us should do the best we can with the resources we have. In this broken world, even bad things happen to good people. May we all be mindful to take responsibility for ourselves, and love and support one another.