Many aspects can influence your breast cancer risk, and most women who develop breast cancer do not have any recognized risk factors or a history of the disease in their families. On the other hand, you can help lower your risk of breast cancer in the following ways—
- Keep a healthy and balanced weight.
- Exercise consistently (minimum four hours a week).
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Don’t consume alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
- Stay away from exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinigens).
- Try to reduce your direct exposure to radiation during medical tests like mammograms, X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans.
- If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormonal replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), consult your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.
- Breastfeed your babies, if possible.
Although breast cancer screening can't prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is much easier to treat. Discuss to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
If you have a family record of breast cancer or got changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may have a greater breast cancer risk. Speak to your doctor about these ways of reducing your risk—
Antiestrogens or other medications that prevent or reduce estrogen in your body.
Surgery treatment to reduce your risk of breast cancer—
- Prophylactic (preventive) mastectomy (removal of breast tissue).
- Prophylactic (preventive) salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes).
It is essential that you know your family record and discuss to your doctor about screening and other ways you can reduced your risk.