Each year it is estimated that over
250,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, so what
can you do to lower your risk? While there are many risk factors we cannot change
when it comes to getting breast cancer there are things we can do to lower our
risk. Today I’m going to go through 7 things we can do to lower our risk.
Number one – exercise. It’s not uncommon for patients to say well I clean my
house or I garden and that really doesn’t really get it and what I mean by
that is studies have shown that physical activity that really counts is about 30
to 60 minutes of fairly vigorous activity at least 5 to 6 days per week.
Limit alcohol intake and don’t smoke. When we talk about smoking and its
relationship to breast cancer we know that several things are very important.
Number one, people that abstain from smoking clearly have a lower risk of
breast cancer. Number two, people that start smoking at an earlier age and
smoke a longer time have a higher risk of breast cancer versus of course the
person that abstains. When it comes to alcohol intake, studies
have shown that as little as three to six drinks a week can increase your risk
of breast cancer. That’s unfortunate because you know a lot of people think
well wine is healthy I’m gonna drink a glass of wine a night but that really
does have a negative impact upon a woman in her breast cancer risk. Control your
weight. Unfortunately the heavier we’ve become
our breast cancer risk increases and this pertains to women as we go through
the change of life so through the perimenopausal and postmenopausal
periods. So after menopause the heavier we become the higher our breast cancer
risks becomes and so the lesson to be learned from that is to try to maintain
our body weight Give your body the nutrients it needs.
Initially some of the studies early on looking at diets high in fruit and
vegetables were controversial but then in 2010 doctors went and looked at a
whole bunch of studies and they actually found that women that did eat diets high
in fruit and vegetables do have a lower risk of breast cancer which makes sense.
So what’s the lesson to be learned there is eat a healthy well-balanced diet and
lower your risk of breast cancer. Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy. So
evidence has definitely shown that hormone replacement therapy is linked to
breast cancer and the development of breast cancer. If people are going to
choose to use women replacement therapy after menopause we tell women to limit
the duration of time because there is a direct correlation between how long you
use it and your incidence of breast cancer so the woman who uses it and
stays on it longer the likelihood of her getting breast cancer drastically
increases. Know your family history. Most breast
cancers are not part of the hereditary breast or ovarian syndrome like we hear
about on TV nowadays the BRCA syndromes but knowing your history is really
important because maybe you are somebody that needs to be referred for testing.
Either way however a family history does raise your risk of breast cancer.
Get screened. number 1 – women should do monthly self breast exams. We see
patients who find unfortunately breast cancer on their own.
Second make sure you have a clinical breast exam by your doctor once a year
and then third screening mammography. Screening mammography has been proven to
reduce death from breast cancer. We tell women to start at age 40. Women seem to
think there’s a magic number when to stop. We tell women age 74 or 75 if
you’re still very healthy 74 or 75 year old then by all indications today those
women need to continue with screening mamommography. Thanks for joining me I hope this information has been helpful. To learn
more about cancer care at Cone Health Cancer Center go to conehealth.com/cancer I’m Dr. Shannon Penland