top of page

Breast Cancer Prevention: Things you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Prevention



Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, except for skin cancers. It is about 30% (or 1 in 3) of all new female cancers each year. ~ American Cancer Society

Breast cancer is a disease that forms when abnormal cells of the breast grow out of control. Unlike healthy cells, these cells will quickly divide, accumulate, and form a tumor. Tumors can begin in different areas of the breast such as the milk glands, ducts, or other breast tissue. When breast cancer is caught early, there are more treatment options and there is a better chance of preventing it from spreading to other parts of the body. Most women go on to live cancer-free lives. Please know that a diagnosis with breast cancer is never your fault and staying positive is a critical part to your healing and overall recovery.


Risk factors

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Men are less likely to get breast cancer than women. However, many women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors at all.


  • Age ~ This risk of breast cancer increases with your age.

  • Dense breast ~ Research has shown that you are twice as likely to develop breast cancer if you have dense breast when compared to non-dense breast. Dense breasts make it harder to see cancer during a screening.


  • Personal history ~ If you have had cancer in one breast, the risk increases of you having it in the other breast.

  • Family history ~ Your risk of breast cancer increases if your mother, sister, or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • Exposure to radiation ~ If you have had radiation treatments to your chest, your risk of breast cancer is increased.

  • Inherited genes ~ The risk of breast cancer increases with certain gene mutations that can be passed from a parent to a child. The most well-known gene mutations, BRCA1 and BRCA2, can greatly increase your risk of developing breast cancer as well as other types of cancers.

  • Weight ~ Obesity can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.

  • Starting menstruation early ~ If you started your period before the age of 12, your risk of breast cancer increases.

  • Starting menopause later in life ~ If you started menopause after the age of 55, you are more likely to develop breast cancer.

  • Having your first child at an older age ~ If you had your first child after the age of 35, you may have an increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Never been pregnant ~ Women who have never been pregnant have a higher risk of breast cancer than women who have had one or more pregnancies.

  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy ~ Women who take hormone therapy medications to treat the symptoms and signs of menopause are at greater risk of breast cancer. The risk decreases with discontinued use of these medicines.

  • Consumption of alcohol ~ The consumption of alcohol increases your risk of breast cancer.


Breast Cancer Prevention


A Harvard study showed a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Foods high in carotenoids and antioxidants such as carrots, red peppers, and tomatoes, may reduce your risk of cancer by 20%. Research also shows that changes in your lifestyle may reduce your risk of breast cancer even if you are at a higher risk.


Ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer


  • Drink alcohol in moderation ~ Research shows the more your drink alcohol, the greater your risk of breast cancer. Even small amounts increase your risk so try to limit yourself to one drink a day, if at all.

  • Exercise ~ Physical activity and exercise may prevent your risk of breast cancer. It is recommended for every adult to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. You should also do strength training at least twice a week.

  • Breast feed ~ Breast feeding may decrease your risk of breast cancer. The protection may be even greater the longer your breast feed.

  • Mediterranean diet (MD) ~ Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil may reduce their risk of developing breast cancer. This diet is mainly plant-based with foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Fish is also chosen over red meat in a MD.

  • Self-exams ~ Forty percent of breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump. Become familiar with your breast through monthly self-breast examinations. If you notice any new lumps or changes from what is normal to you, please notify your doctor.

  • Breast cancer screening ~ Talk with your doctor about breast cancer screening exams, such as mammograms and clinical breast exams.


A mammogram uses low-energy X-rays for the early detection of breast cancer. You should have a yearly mammogram starting at age 40, or sooner if you have a family history of the disease.

Remember, early detection is key in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. For more information about breast cancer, please visit www.breastcancer.org.


Author Bio

Isabella Boston

Isabella Boston is a multi-talented writer and the creator of Bella’s Attic Studio. She is well-versed in copywriting, articles and research, and medical content writing with a focus on traumatic brain injury (TBI), autoimmune disorders, and inflammation within the body. She is a diarist and the author of Passion of Flames.


When Isabella is not writing, she enjoys reading, learning new languages, and spreading God’s Holy Word.


References

1. Breast cancer statistics: How common is breast cancer? American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breastcancer.html

2. Breast cancer risk: Age at first childbirth. Susan G. Komen®. (2022, July 27). Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.komen.org/breast-cancer/riskfactor/age-at-first-childbirth/

3. Dense breasts. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/risk-factors/dense-breasts

4. High fruit and vegetable consumption may reduce risk of breast cancer, especially aggressive tumors. News. (2020, March 28). Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/fruit-vegetables-breast-cancer/

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 19). Facts about moderate drinking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm



Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform monthly breast exams. Be aware of any dangerous signs of breast cancer such as a new lump in your breast, bloody nipple discharge, and any skin changes or appearances.











Comments


bottom of page