Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women, and it is estimated that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Although these statistics are serious, there are several nutritional and healthy lifestyle practices a woman can incorporate into her life to lower her risk of developing breast cancer. For all women, the most important step to take is education about breast cancer facts, personal risks, and breast self-awareness. All women should learn what feels normal at each stage in life when it comes to breast health.
Healthy lifestyle practices
Maintain a healthy weight: Body weight can affect a woman’s risk of many diseases, including breast cancer. Studies show that excess body weight coupled with physical inactivity can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Listed below are some healthy diet tips to promote overall health:
- Limit high-calorie and high-fat foods and beverages
- Eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables every day
- Limit the consumption of red meat
- Limit the consumption of saturated and trans fats
- Incorporate polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in diet
- Choose 100 percent whole grain foods
- Consume the right amount of calcium and vitamin D every day
- Limit alcohol intake
Exercising does not have to be an intense workout every day. The American Cancer Society recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Being active can lower a woman’s risk of breast cancer development, recurrence, and breast cancer-related death. Additionally, regular physical activity can boost mood, improve bone health, and increase energy.
Breast self-awareness means:
- Knowing your personal risk of breast cancer and family history of breast cancer
- Recognizing what feels normal for you through self exams
- Getting clinical breast exams beginning in your 20s and mammograms every year starting at age 40
- Speaking with your doctor about your health and risk factors