Headlines & Helpful Information
By: Susan G. Komen
the New Year begins, it’s a great time to refocus your efforts on health. Adopting
a healthy lifestyle has countless benefits, affecting nearly every aspect of your
physical, mental and emotional well-being. Some things may also reduce your chances
of getting breast cancer. Plus, making healthy choices is empowering—every good
decision is an investment in yourself and your future. It’s never too late to
adopt a healthy lifestyle. Here’s how.
1. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Gaining weight as
an adult increases your risk of developing breast cancer. According to one
large study, women who gain 20 pounds after the age of 18 have a 15 percent
higher risk. Those who gain 55 pounds or more increase their risk by 45
percent. So it’s important to
maintain a healthy weight.
overweight or obese after menopause can increase a woman’s breast cancer risk by
30-60 percent. That’s because fat cells make estrogen after menopause and the
more estrogen you have in your body as you age, the more likely to increase the
risk of breast cancer.
2. Stay Active
Women who get regular physical activity
have about a 10-20 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who don’t.
Fortunately, you don’t need an intense exercise routine to get the benefits.
Activity equal to walking 30 minutes a day may lower your risk. Lace-up your
athletic shoes and get going.
3. Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Studies show eating fruits and veggies may
slightly decrease the risk of some breast cancers. Also, eat produce high in
carotenoids, the natural orange-red food pigments found in melons, carrots,
sweet potatoes and squash. Studies show women with high blood levels of
carotenoids have a decreased risk of breast cancer. In general, fruits and
vegetables are the best sources of carotenoids (rather than supplements) as
supplements may have some health risks.
4. Don’t Smoke
Tobacco smoke has at
least 250 harmful chemicals, at least 69 of which have been shown to cause
cancer. If you smoke, there are health benefits to quitting at any age.Stopping, or not starting, is one of
the best things you can do.
5. Limit Alcohol Intake
One study found women who had 2-3
alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer than
women who don’t drink. Women should limit themselves to less than 1 drink a
day and men should limit themselves to 2 drinks a day.
6. Breastfeed, If You Can
has many positive benefits for women throughout their lives. In addition to
reducing the risk of breast cancer especially in premenopausal women, studies
show it lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes and ovarian cancer.
7. Limit the Hormones
Menopausal hormone therapy
(MHT) is approved for short-term relief of menopausal symptoms. But women who take
estrogen plus progestin to relieve these symptoms increase their risk of
getting breast cancer and dying from it. Fortunately, when they stop MHT, their
risk starts to decline, returning to normal levels within 5-10 years. If you
are considering MHT, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits.
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