Approximately 1 in 8 US women are diagnosed with breast cancer. While genetic factors do play a role in the development of breast cancer, there are many environmental and lifestyle choices that can also impact health. Self exams, professional screenings and decreasing the use of alcohol are just a few of the preventative options available. To greatly minimize the risk of developing a form of breast cancer, using preventative measures can help reduce your chances for serious health risks.
The Importance of Prevention
Prevention is often the best cure. It’s common knowledge that damage and painful breasts can be prevented with a sports bra, but what about other breast issues? Breast cancer, while extremely common, can also be prevented with just a little extra effort . Since breast cancer has a variety of risk factors associated with it, taking protective measures is recommended. Although not all risk factors can be avoided, there are several that can be controlled. The more risk factors that are avoided, the healthier the outcome.
7 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer
- Lower your alcohol intake. Drinking less than 3 or 4 drinks per week can greatly help reduce the chances of breast cancer. There are several possible reasons why alcohol impacts the risk for breast cancer. Weight gain or excess fat can easily lead to an increased risk in health-related issues. Heightened levels of estrogen and other hormones linked to breast cancer occur when drinking alcohol. Folic acid from alcohol can also have a negative impact on health.
- Exercise regularly. Moderate exercise including walking, dancing or yoga can help reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. 3-4 hours a week is recommended for those who have a heart rate of 50 or 60 percent higher than the original resting rate. To measure a resting heart rate, comfortably sit with a stopwatch and count how many heart beats occur within 15 seconds. Multiply that number by four and you have an accurate resting heart rate.
- Self examine. One of the best ways to prevent breast cancer is by paying close attention to the body. Shopping for sports bras is one way to notice whether there are any abnormalities in the body, but this should be done on a regular basis. Daily self-exams to check for lumps can potentially save time, money and possibly your life. If there is a lump in either breast, it’s important to go to a doctor as soon as possible. In addition to self exams, a routine screening at the doctor is recommended.
- Do not smoke. Cigarettes are always a bad idea for good health, but this is especially true when trying to prevent breast cancer. Not only is smoking dangerous for those over 50, but premenopausal women are also at a high risk for developing breast cancer. For those who started smoking younger than seventeen, the chances of developing breast cancer are even higher. Quitting smoking has some of the most dramatic increases for overall health and wellness.
- Avoid Post-menopausal hormone treatment. Preventing long-term diseases like osteoporosis or heart disease do not require post-menopausal hormone treatment. By using this type of treatment, physical health can be jeopardized. The estrogen only hormones as well as the estrogen-plus-progestin hormones can both increase the risk of breast cancer. If post menopausal hormones are recommended by a doctor, they should only be used as a short-term treatment.
- Breast feeding. By decreasing the exposure to estrogen, breast feeding can be an incredibly useful way of preventing breast cancer. A variety of studies suggest that women who breastfeed have statistically lower risks of developing breast cancer than those who do not.
- Know your history. Breast cancer can often run in families. By regularly going to the doctor for breast screenings, breast cancer can be detected in the early stages. If a family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer, these screenings are especially important for the possibility of a genetic predisposition. For women who have an especially high risk of breast cancer, a mastectomy can greatly reduce the risk of a potentially life threatening illness. For those who choose surgery, counseling and cancer risk assessment are recommended.
Women Supporting Women
Sportsbrasdirect has Australia’s largest range of sports bra brands and is dedicated to fighting breast cancer. 100% of the profits goes to women’s charities. By celebrating and helping women know their bodies, many more lives can be saved.