Every year in the United States, approximately 245,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control, and can form a tumor, and may invade nearby healthy tissue. There are many factors that can influence your chance of getting breast cancer. Some factors you cannot change, such as your family history and age. What you can change is your lifestyle and making minor adjustments and taking care of your health can lower your risk of developing breast cancer and help your chances of survival if you do get it.
Get regular mammograms
Starting around age 40, most women should have annual mammograms. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and is one of the best tools doctors have to find breast cancer early. This can vary depending on your personal risk factors, so speak with your doctor about the time that is right for you.
The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital provides state-of-the-art technology, a team of highly trained physicians and staff, and a Planetree healing environment to offer patients a comprehensive range of personalized breast care and wellness services. For more information, call (203) 732-1300 or visit griffinhealth.org/hcbw.
Maintain a healthy weight
Having an increased body weight or gaining weight as an adult has been linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Staying at a healthy weight throughout the course of your life will help lower your risk. You can maintain your weight by balancing your food intake and diet with the amount of physical activity you get. Speak with your doctor if you have concerns about your weight.
Griffin Health offers several programs aimed at helping those with weight issues and several more focused on prevention and wellness. Click here for more information: https://www.griffinhealth.org/weight-loss-management.
There are countless studies that show the benefits of routine exercise for the body. Moderate to vigorous activity is linked to a lower risk of breast cancer. Make sure you are exercising several times throughout the week to help lower your breast cancer risk. Consider finding a friend to exercise with for inspiration, and together you can build healthy lifestyles.
Griffin Health offers several fitness and lifestyle change programs to help individuals increase vitality and lead a healthier, happier life. Click here for more information: https://www.griffinhealth.org/prevention-lifestyle
Limit alcohol consumption
Even small amounts of alcohol have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and so it is best to limit your intake. The American Cancer Society advises women to have no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
Breastfeed your children, if possible
If you have children and are able to breastfeed, it is recommended to do so. Breastfeeding for at least several months may help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Women who have a history of breastfeeding have been shown to have reduced rates of breast cancer compared to women who have never breastfed.
Learn about your family history
If there is a history of breast cancer in your family, discuss it with your doctor. There are some genes that increase the risk for breast cancer and your doctor will be able to advise you on further testing and preventive measures including: early detection signs, medications to lower your risk, and preventative surgery.
Assessing your lifestyle and making modifications is one of the best ways to lower your risk of developing breast cancer. Talk with your doctor for more specifics on lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk.