Breast cancer is a frightening possibility for women and men alike. Though awareness of this illness has spread considerably over the last few decades due to a number of charities and organizations, it is still estimated that over 41,000 people will die of breast cancer each year. Though you won’t be able to do anything about your genetic history or many other risk factors associated with breast cancer, you can adopt—or un-adopt—these 7 habits in order to minimize your likelihood of experiencing this issue.
Though many people are happy to tell you exercise can reduce your risk of just about any health issue, they’re often right. It controls weight gain, which actually minimizes one’s risk for developing breast cancer, and it has the potential to change your estrogen metabolism from good to bad. You don’t even have to exercise a lot; just walking for several hours a week, dancing, swimming, or doing another low-intensity activity can help.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
A recent study found that eating foods with lots of carotenoids will actually decrease your risk of breast cancer. Carotenoids can be found in leafy green vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and collard greens, as well as carrots and red peppers. They can also be found in cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and bananas.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
If you are worried about your breast cancer risk, you might want to put down that glass of wine. People who drink only one drink per day are at a much lower risk than those who drink more than this, and those who don’t drink at all are one-and-a-half times less likely to develop breast cancer than those who drink more than two drinks per day.
Smoking can cause a number of serious issues for your health, including many different types of cancer. Recent studies are showing now that it could, in fact, lead to breast cancer in those who smoke regularly, especially women who are premenopausal.
Don’t let this illness sneak up on you. Perform self-exams at least once a month but try not to do so when your breasts are tender or swollen. This means it’s a good idea not to self-examine before or during your period. After it ends is a good time to check and make sure everything’s normal.
Limit Your Use of Hormone Therapy
If you are taking hormone therapy for your menopausal symptoms, consider talking to your doctor about limiting the time you are on these medications. Those who take them for longer than 3 years often experience an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Don’t Expose Yourself to Radiation Unnecessarily
If you need to be tested for a medical issue, medical imagining may be necessary, but remember that exposure to radiation can also increase your risk of cancer. Therefore, it’s best to talk to your doctor and determine if you absolutely require the test before moving forward.