Lifestyle Changes to Reduce the Risk for Breast Cancer
Reducing your risk for breast cancer begins with healthy lifestyle changes. If you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer due to a genetic history, you may look for active ways to decrease your risk. Here are some things you can incorporate into your everyday life that will increase your overall health and decrease your risk for cancer.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercising on a regular basis is an important factor in overall health. Exercise can not only help to reduce one’s risk of developing breast cancer, but it can also reduce the risk of recurrence for those who have been diagnosed in the past.
Exercise is a safe way to improve one’s physical functioning, fatigue, and quality of life. The American Cancer Society’s recommendation for effective exercise to lower the risk of cancer is 150 minutes of activity each week. There is no need to do intense exercise on a daily basis, even just going for walks is beneficial.
Exercise helps control body weight, which is an important risk factor for people who develop breast cancer. Physical activity can also lower estrogen levels, which is helpful because women with high estrogen levels are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
Exercise can also boost the immune system, killing or slowing down the growth of cancerous cells.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
There is no single food to eat to prevent breast cancer on its own, however, eating a diet full of a wide variety of plant-based foods can help decrease your risk. Eating a colorful diet ensures that your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to function at an optimal level. Plant-based foods contain potent nutrients that boost the immune system and protect the body from cancerous cells.
Fruits and vegetables are the most effective sources of powerful antioxidants like vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and selenium. These vitamins help your body’s cells function properly. The less processed your food is, the less it has been cooked and stripped of its nutrients, so it is best to eat foods that are closest to the form in which they came out of the ground.
Fruit and vegetables have more fiber, less unhealthy fat, and are more nutrient-dense than processed foods. These attributes work together to create a healthy immune system, which can help your body fight off breast cancer.
Breastfeeding can lower one’s risk of developing breast cancer, especially if done for over a year. This may be helpful for several reasons. First, when the breasts are actively working to create milk, the focus of the cells is on milk production, not cancer development. Also, women who breastfeed typically have fewer menstrual cycles during that time, which means their bodies also have lower levels of estrogen. Finally, many women naturally tend to live a healthier life while breastfeeding in order to optimize the health of their baby, including avoiding alcohol and smoking, which also helps to stave off cancer.
Vitamin D has many beneficial functions in the body, including helping the immune system function properly. Women with low levels of vitamin D are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer due to the fact that it plays a role in controlling the growth of healthy cells in the breast tissue.
Early detection of breast cancer is vital in one’s prognosis. The goal of getting regular check-ups is to find any cancerous cells before they become symptomatic. Breast cancers that are found during an early screening exam have an increased chance of being small and confined to the breast. These are two of the most important factors in predicting the outlook of a patient who is suffering from breast cancer.