It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Healthy habits that could help women reduce their breast cancer risk
by Leslie Carroll
by Leslie Carroll
Sep 27, 2023
· Avoid alcohol. The American Cancer Society reports that alcohol consumption is a clear risk factor for breast cancer. Risk increases with the amount of alcohol a woman consumes. For example, a woman who consumes one alcoholic drink per day has a 7 to 10 percent higher risk of getting breast cancer than a woman who abstains from alcohol. Drinking two to three drinks per day could increase risk by around 20 percent.
· Establish and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk, particularly among postmenopausal women. According to the ACS, after menopause women get most of their estrogen from fat tissue. Fat tissue increases estrogen levels in the body, which in turn increases a woman's risk for breast cancer. Elevated levels of insulin in the body, which is common among individuals who are overweight, also has been linked to higher breast cancer risk.
· Maintain a physically active lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle increases a person's risk for various conditions and diseases. Women who live such a lifestyle are at elevated risk for breast cancer. The ACS notes that sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or engaging with screen-based forms of entertainment that do not require physical activity can increase breast cancer risk, especially for women who spend most of their work day sitting down. A more physically active lifestyle that includes routine exercise can help women reduce their breast cancer risk.
· Adopt a nutritious diet. Eating right is another way for women to reduce their breast cancer risk. Vegetables, fiber-rich legumes such as beans and peas, fruits across the color spectrum, and whole grains are some components of a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that can help lower breast cancer risk. Women also can avoid certain foods, such as red and processed meats and refined grains, to lower their breast cancer risk.
Though there's no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, women can embrace various healthy habits to lower their risk for the disease.