By Karen Kwan
While there are factors beyond your control – your genetics and age, for example – there are lifestyle habits you can take charge of to help reduce your risk of breast cancer, a cancer that that an estimated 23,200 women in 2010 will have been diagnosed with. Here’s are four prevention strategies:
Exercise. Being overweight increases your risk of breast cancer. And the risk appears to be higher if you tend to carry your extra weight around your belly. Perhaps it’ll change your attitude towards working if you consider it a potentially lifesaving activity rather than a way to fit into that LBD.
Nutrition. Tied into the above point about exercise, following a healthy, well-rounded diet so you maintain a healthy weight can play a role in breast cancer prevention. If you’ve had breast cancer in the past, one study has shown that a healthy diet can cut your risk of it returning by nearly one-third. While there is no specific food or diet that can specifically reduce your risk, there is ongoing research revealing a number of interesting things when it comes to diet and breast cancer: a low-fat diet may help cut your risk, says one study, while another recently published in Nutrition and Cancer found that mice whose diet included walnuts had a much lower risk of breast cancer.
Quit smoking. A review of research by the Canadian Expert Panel on Tobacco Smoke and Breast Cancer Risk found that smoking is indeed linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. And according to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation of Canada, research also shows that women who start smoking in adolescence and before having a baby may in particular develop a higher risk.
Limit your alcohol intake. That happy hour you enjoy every day after leaving work for the day? Your habit may be upping your risk. Drink one drink a day and your risk is slightly increased. But if you regularly consume three or more drinks, your breast cancer risk is significantly greater compared to a non-drinker. Something to consider the next time you’re about to order another round for the table.