Find out below, the lifestyle choices that have been proven to help reduce risk of developing breast cancer. This month, we are helping to raise awareness for breast cancer as Pink Patrons of The Marie Keating Foundation. If you’d like to help raise funds for their Think Pink campaign, you can do so by buying our Rose & Lily Pink Bouquet! You’ll also be entered into the draw to win a Hot Stone Massage in one of Ireland’s top day spas. Read below and learn how to prevent Breast Cancer.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Unfortunately, people that are an unhealthy weight or obese after menopause can actually increase their risk of developing breast cancer. When a woman is menopausal, the majority of the oestrogen in her body comes from fat tissue and having more fat tissue can increase risk of getting breast cancer as it raises oestrogen levels. Additionally, overweight women usually have higher insulin levels, this hormone has also been linked to some cancers. Try to maintain a healthy weight for your height. Reducing sugary and processed foods and eating healthier food like fruit and vegetables can help you to keep a healthy weight and reduce your risk. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but eating healthily will have massive benefits for reducing your risk of developing many health problems, not just breast cancer.
Most studies point to the fact that women generally have a lower risk of breast cancer when they are more active though this reduction in risk varies between 20% and 80%. In an ideal world, we all should be exercising regularly throughout our lives for our general health and well-being. Again, it’s sometimes difficult to motivate yourself or to find the time, but the latest evidence shows that there is a relationship between regular physical activity and reduction in risk of developing breast cancer. If you find exercise difficult, consider beginning small by going out for vigorous walks, try light exercise classes like yoga or make exercise fun by taking up a dance exercise class with your friends. Your body will thank you.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Studies have consistently proven that there is a link between drinking alcohol and risk increase for breast cancer and so the higher your alcohol consumption, the higher the risk. This is due to the fact that Alcohol increases the levels of oestrogen in the body as well as other hormones that are linked to “hormone-receptor-positive-breast cancer.” Another reason it may increase your risk is because Alcohol may damage DNA in cells. Limiting your consumption of alcohol to less than 11 units a week. It is important to note that 1 drink does not equate to 1 unit. Typically a large glass of wine is 2-3 units for example. Learn more about how much alcohol is safe to drink here.
Giving Up Smoking
It is common knowledge that smoking is extremely bad for you. It is heavily associated with significantly increasing the risk of developing several cancers and diseases ( bladder, pancreas, kidney, liver, stomach, bowel, cervix and ovary cancer.) It’s also linked to increasing risk of breast cancer in younger women who haven’t yet gone through menopause. There is also evidence that smoking will increase the risk of complications during breast cancer treatments. Simply put, stopping smoking will be the best thing you can do for your overall health. The earlier you stop, the better. You can get in touch with the HSE for free advice with their Quit service. Find out more information on their website here.
Breastfeeding Your Baby
Another way to reduce your risk is breastfeeding, this especially true for women who haven’t yet begun menopause. In a study which was published in Lancet in 2002, mothers who had breastfed for a year in their lifetime were slightly less likely to get breast cancer than those who never breastfed. The reduction in risk was even higher the more time a woman had spent breastfeeding in her life.
Becoming Breast Aware
The ways outlined above can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, however there are still risks one cannot control or do much about other than being aware of them. This is why it is essential that you are Breast Aware and know what warning signs to look out for. You can find out how to become breast aware here.