Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Reduce Risk With Lifestyle Changes

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when breast cancer research organizations around the world shine a spotlight on the disease and raise money for research, diagnosis and treatment. Another important goal of the month is to promote prevention by sharing strategies and tips that help to lower the risk of developing the disease.

Dr. Peterson works to educate patients on ways to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer. Lifestyle changes have been shown to make the largest impact on decreasing the risk of developing the disease – even in women who are high-risk because of genetics.

Maintain a Healthy Weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is the No. 1 strategy to lower the risk of developing breast and other types of cancer.

Eat a Healthy Diet. Eating a healthy diet has been shown to reduce the development of cancer by 30 percent. Avoid high-fat foods, processed foods, and foods high in sodium and sugar. Instead, choose lean meats and fish, plenty of vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats like nuts.

Work Out. Try to hit the gym for cardio for at least 150 minutes each week. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and, in turn, further reduces your risk.

Limit Alcohol Consumption. Researchers have linked increased consumption of alcohol to a greater chance of developing breast cancer. Limit yourself to less than 5 ounces of alcohol per day.

Quit Smoking. Researchers have found that smoking increases your odds of developing many types of cancer, including breast cancer. Protect your overall health by quitting smoking. Electronic cigarette use, also known as vaping, isn’t an entirely safe option, either, as studies about e-cigarettes have shown adverse health risks.

Limit Exposure to Other Carcinogens. Limiting your exposure to other cancer-causing substances like pollutants and chemicals can reduce your risk of developing breast and other forms of cancer.

Regular Self-Checks and Mammograms. While self-exams and imaging are not exactly prevention strategies, they are beneficial for catching lumps or areas of concern. Experts suggest that you should perform self-checks every month. Discuss with your health care provider when and how frequently you should have mammograms or other breast imaging.

For more information about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and preventative tips, call Dr. Peterson today at 785-234-9000.