Susan G. Komen cares!
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Did you know you can do things that are good for your health that may lower your risk of getting breast cancer?
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Many studies have shown a link between body weight and weight gain and breast cancer risk. However, being overweight or obese affects the risk for pre- and postmenopausal women differently.
- Being overweight or obese BEFORE menopause modestly decreases the risk of breast cancer.
- Being overweight AFTER menopause increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Gaining 20 pounds or more after the age of 18 may increase your risk of breast cancer.
- Losing weight after menopause may lower your risk of breast cancer.
2. Add exercise to your routine
Physical activity not only burns energy (calories), but it may also help lower your risk of breast cancer. (This benefit is seen most clearly in women after menopause.) Exercise fights obesity and may lower estrogen levels. It may also boost the immune system so it can help kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.
Before you start an exercise program, see a doctor if you:
- Have been inactive for a long time
- Are overweight
- Have a high risk of heart disease
- Have a high risk of or have other chronic health problems
If you are already physically active, keep up the good work!
3. Limit alcohol intake
The more alcohol your drink, the higher your risk of breast cancer. Studies have shown that women who had 2 – 3 alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who didn’t drink alcohol. If you drink alcohol, have less than one drink a day.
4. Limit menopausal hormones
Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is approved for the short – term relief of menopausal symptoms. The main types of MHT are:
- Estrogen plus progestin and
- Estrogen alone.
Estrogen plus progestin increases the risk of both developing and dying from breast cancer. Once MHT is stopped, this increased risk returns to that of a woman who has never used hormones in about 5 – 10 years. Some studies have shown estrogen alone increases the risk of breast cancer. However, one large study found a decreased risk.
Talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits of MHT.
5. Breastfeeding, if you can
Breastfeeding protects against breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women.