What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer Prevention

In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be found in women and 2,670 new cases will be found in men.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in people of all ethnicities, but there are ways to help prevent it. Knowing your risks and taking preventative measures to address controllable factors is key. While not every risk factor can be altered, there are a few everyday lifestyle changes that can help lower your risk.

  • Genetic Risk Factors:  When it comes to breast cancer diagnoses, being a woman is the biggest risk factor. It’s possible for men to develop the disease, but only one percent of new cases every year are attributed to men.
  • Know Your History: Approximately 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are hereditary. These genes can be passed from the mother’s or father’s side through a variety of mutated genes. Know what you’re up against, talk to your doctor and get screened accordingly.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight and Eat Healthy: According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer survivors who have a balanced, healthy diet tend to live longer.
  • Exercise Regularly: Studies have shown that getting regular exercise can lower your risk for breast cancer by 10 to 20 percent. This is seen mainly in postmenopausal women.
  • Limit Alcoholic Drinks: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Studies show women who consume two to three alcoholic beverages per day have a 20 percent higher risk than non-drinkers.
  • Breastfeed, If Possible: According to American Institute for Cancer Research, breastfeeding can lower the risk for breast cancer. The longer women breastfeed the lower the risk of breast cancer.

Discuss any concerns and family history with your primary care physician and be sure to consult your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle.

Dr. Denice Logan is a medical director with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Photo Credit: Liz West via Flickr

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