There’s no guarantee that if you do a set list of specific things you will never have cancer. That’s just not realistic. However, scientists at The American Institute for Cancer Research have dedicated years to studying and understanding cancers and recognizing the patterns of habits that could possibly raise a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer.
As the most common cancer among women everywhere, it’s essential that all women are as informed as possible on which habits to incorporate into their lives and which ones to eliminate immediately.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
According to the National Cancer Institute and not surprising in any way, obesity is linked to an increased risk of breast, pancreatic, esophageal, colorectal, and thyroid cancer. If a history of breast cancer runs in your family, or you know you would be healthier by losing a few pounds, make that your goal starting right now. It’s never too late to take back control of your health.
Going right along with the first point, if you’re looking to lose some weight, exercise is a key factor in that. Regardless of weight loss, studies show that the risk of developing breast cancer is lower for women who are active than those who are inactive. That doesn’t mean you need to become a gym rat and never see the light of day again, but exercising regularly and with a decent amount of vigor will not be something you’ll regret down the road.
Eat a Diet High in Non-Starchy Vegetables
While eating non-starchy vegetables and foods that contain calcium and carotenoids may be a great dietary move overall, the AICR has shared that there currently isn’t a massive amount of evidence to support the theory that switching to this diet will greatly reduce your risk of breast cancer. There’s no way it will hurt your chances though, so we suggest adhering to this as much as possible.
Don’t Drink a Lot of Alcohol
As if you needed another scientific reason why controlling and balancing the amount of alcohol you drink is a good idea, researchers have linked alcohol consumption to an increased risk of head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal cancer.
In 2002, a study of nearly 150,000 women found that for those who breastfed, the longer they breastfed the lower their chances were of getting breast cancer. It’s recommended by the World Health Organization that mothers breastfeed their babies for at least six months. The risk of breast cancer goes down about 4% for every 12 months of breastfeeding.
Let Go of What You Can’t Control
Like we said earlier, if breast cancer runs in your family, sometimes you’re just at a higher risk for cancer due to your genes. A BRCA mutation can take your risk for breast cancer from 7% to an average of 55-65% when you have the BRCA1 or 2 gene mutation. It can also increase if you get your period early, are taller than average, go through menopause late, or have taken oral contraceptives that have estrogen and progesterone.