5 ways to cut breast cancer risk
There are at least five simple ways women can follow to reduce their risk of getting breast cancer, says an expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Erica Mayer, MD, M.P.H., a breast cancer expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has urged women to get a mammogram starting at age 40.
"Mammography screening does not prevent or cure breast cancer, but it may detect the disease before symptoms occur," said Dr. Mayer.
She also suggested eating a healthy diet and to keep weight under control.
The American Cancer Society recommends a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fiber.
"High-fat diets can lead to being overweight or obese, which is a risk factor for breast cancer," said Dr. Mayer.
Further she noted that there's growing evidence that physical activity reduces a woman's breast cancer risk.
According to one small study, women who engaged in 10 to 19 hours of physical activity per week during their reproductive years or after menopause experienced a 30 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
"Women who exercise regularly appear to be less likely to develop breast cancer. Cancer survivors who are active may have less risk of cancer recurrence compared to those who are more sedentary," said Dr. Mayer.
Next she warns women to limit alcohol consumption, as research has shown having too much alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer.
"The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol - including beer, wine or liquor - limit yourself to no more than one half to one drink a day on average," Dr. Mayer said.
Lastly she urged women to determine if they have family history of breast cancer.
This is because twenty to 30 percent of people who develop breast cancer have a family history of the disease. About five to ten-percent of women carry a BRCA1 or 2 mutation, the so called "breast cancer genes."
"For women with a family history of breast cancer, genetic testing can offer information about their personal and family risk of developing breast cancer. And if a woman is found to have a gene mutation, options are available to significantly reduce their risk of cancer," asserted Dr. Mayer.