6 Ways To Minimize The Risk Of Breast Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, every three minutes, on average, another woman learns she has breast cancer. The good news is that there are several strategies that can help reduce risk. Try incorporating the following lifestyle changes into your daily routine:
- Get active. Regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes on most days) has been shown to be protective against breast cancer. Start with walking, but gradually work toward more intense activity including strength training.
- Maintain your health care. Evidence-based monitoring is key. Realize that over screening can lead to unnecessary procedures and stress. The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends beginning mammograms at age 50 and continuing every other year through age 74. They recommend against self-breast exams. You may have personal or medical reasons to consider a different screening regimen; schedule a time to speak with your doctor and determine what is best for you.
- Supplement wisely. Folic acid, vitamin D and antioxidants all may help decrease risk. It is best, particularly with vitamin D to dose based on you blood levels, so monitoring these in winter and summer months are key.
- Reduce exposure to xenoestrogens. These chemicals with estrogen-like activity are found in common pesticides and industrial pollutants, and as hormone residues in meat, poultry and dairy products. Also work on minimizing your exposure to plastics, and especially food or beverage heated in plastic containers. Skin care products are a common source as well, and what you put on your skin gets into your body. Use the Environmental Working Group’s research (www.ewg.org/skindeep) to help you decide on the best and cleanest products to use. Lowering toxin exposure also includes focusing on organic produce for items listed in the Dirty Dozen and opting for organic coffee and teas. Another common plastic exposure most people do not realize is the automatic coffee brewing craze. Pushing hot water through plastic containers increases your exposure. Consider more simple, non-plastic ways of preparation like glass or ceramic pour-overs.
- Avoid exposure to radiation. Limiting the number of chest X-rays and CT scans you receive, especially at a young age, may decrease the risk of breast cancer.
- Choose beverages wisely. Sugar sweetened beverages and alcohol both have enough connections to increasing cancer risk to give pause and to consider your consumption. While occasional, moderate use has not been shown to be a concern, base your safe level of intake on your family and personal health history and consider lowering your intake of these beverages overall.
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