Breast cancer is common cancer in women, and many of its risk factors are related to lifestyle behaviors.
Here are 5 ways to change lifestyle behaviors and reduce breast cancer risk.
Limit alcohol drinking
Research has shown that drinking alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Compared with non-drinkers, women who have a 2-5 alcoholic drink a day have 50% more risk of breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women have no more than 1 alcoholic drink a day.
A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Have a healthy body weight
Being overweight or obese after menopause could increase breast cancer risk.
After menopause (when the ovaries stop making estrogen), most of a woman’s estrogen comes from fat tissue.
Having more fat tissue after menopause can raise estrogen levels and increase the chance of getting breast cancer.
In addition, overweight and obesity are linked to high blood insulin levels, which are associated with some cancers, including breast cancer.
Take regular exercise
There is growing evidence showing that regular exercise could help reduce breast cancer risk.
In one study, researchers found as little as 1¼ to 2½ hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman’s risk by 18%. Walking 10 hours a week reduced the risk a little more.
The American Cancer Society recommends that each adult gets at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week.
Recent studies show that women who have not had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall.
On the contrary, becoming pregnant at an early age may help reduce breast cancer risk.
But researchers warn that the effect of pregnancy could be different for different types of breast cancer.
Some studies suggest that breastfeeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, especially if it lasts for 1½ to 2 years.
One possible reason for this is that breastfeeding reduces a woman’s total number of lifetime menstrual cycles. It is like starting menstrual periods at a later age or going through early menopause.
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