Breast cancer, which is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the breast, is a leading cause of death in women. While doctors agree that there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, there are many things you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk.
Making certain lifestyle changes and seeking support from your doctors are empowering and help support breast health, even if you have a family history of breast cancer. Below are 15 useful tips that may help reduce your risk of breast cancer.
- Eat a diet rich in cruciferous or green and leafy vegetables. A large prospective study found that women who consumed the most cruciferous vegetables had a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who consumed the least.
- Drink green tea regularly. Another study found that regular consumption of green tea was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.
- Add ginger and turmeric to your diet. There are many herbs that have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Turmeric and ginger top the list. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and promote apoptosis (cell death). Ginger, on the other hand, contains a compound called gingerol, which has been shown to kill ovarian and breast cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain, especially after menopause, increases your risk of breast cancer. Maintaining a normal weight throughout your life is better for your breasts.
- Be physically active. Being physically active can help prevent breast cancer by reducing the amount of fat tissue in the body and regulating hormones. Fat tissue is a source of estrogen, and high levels of estrogen are associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Limit your alcohol intake. There is a strong link between alcohol consumption and the development of breast cancer. Studies have shown that even moderate drinking can increase a woman’s risk of developing the disease.
- Quit smoking. Quitting smoking helps prevent breast cancer because it reduces the number of harmful chemicals that are present in the body. It lowers estrogen levels, which have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Switch to a different contraceptive. Hormone contraceptives, such as birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), release synthetic hormones into the body. These hormones can increase the risk of developing breast cancer. The risk is highest for women who use hormone contraceptives at a young age, and for those who have used them for a long time. If you are already at high risk of breast cancer, ask your doctor about other options for birth control.
- Breastfeed your baby. Women who breastfeed longer have a lower risk of breast cancer, which may have to do with reducing a woman’s lifetime exposure to estrogen.
- Get to know your breasts. Be familiar with how they look and feel normally so that you can more easily spot any changes and report them to your doctor.
- Get regular mammogramsGet regular breast cancer screenings as recommended by your doctor based on your age, family history, and other risk factors. If you are over the age of 40, you can now have your first mammogram based on recommendations by the CDC and The National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
- Limit combination hormone therapy. Hormone therapy, since it increases estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Studies show women between the ages of 50 and 69 who take combined hormone replacement therapy daily have a two percent increased risk of breast cancer.
- Ask your doctor about genetic testing for breast cancer. Genetic testing for breast cancer can help identify women who are at high risk for the disease due to inherited gene mutations and may benefit from early detection and/or preventive measures.
- Ask your doctor about medicines that can help lower breast cancer risk. You may be a good candidate for medicines that help lower breast cancer risk, such as Tamoxifen, Raloxifene (Evista), and Aromatase inhibitors.
- Consider prophylactic breast surgery. A double mastectomy involves the removal of both breasts, as well as all the surrounding lymph nodes. This procedure is usually only recommended for women who have a very high risk of developing breast cancer, such as those with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
Breast Cancer Screening in The Bronx, NY
Starling Diagnostics is proud of our women’s specialty health services. Our doctors can guide you towards better breast health and offer breast cancer screening and diagnostics on-site (with our 3D mammogram), in a patient-friendly environment. If you are concerned about your breast cancer risk or want to have a doctor assess recent breast changes, don’t wait, schedule an appointment with us now. Call our office today at (718) 319-1610 or use our convenient online appointment request form. We look forward to being your partner toward better health!