Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among woman aged 35-54. Certain factors for breast cancer are out of your hands, such as gender, genetics and family history. However, there are other factors that can be changed in order to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Choosing the healthiest lifestyle options can ensure breast cancer risk is as low as possible.
Diet and alcohol
A healthy diet can lower the risk of breast cancer this includes getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and lowering your intake of alcohol.
Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts might reduce their risk.
With alcohol, the more alcohol consumed, the greater the risk of developing breast cancer. The general recommendation is to limit intake to less than one drink a day.
Radiation and environment pollution exposure
Some studies have suggested there is a link between breast cancer and cumulative exposure to radiation over a lifetime.
Medical-imaging methods, such as computerised tomography, use very high levels of radiation and increase cancer risk. Try limiting exposure to such tests by only taking them when absolutely necessary.
Environmental pollutants increase the risk of breast cancer and chemical exposures have been identified as major risks.
Birth control and menopause hormones
Women who are taking birth control pills, especially over the age of 35, slightly increase their risk of developing breast cancer.
Those who are very concerned about developing breast cancer should avoid birth control pills and speak with their doctor about alternative contraceptive methods.
Likewise taking post-menopausal hormones increase the risk as both estrogen only hormones and oestrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer.
Three main risk factors for breast cancer:
Being a woman – Over 99 percent of new cases of breast cancer are in woman
Getting older – More than 80 percent of breast cancers occur in woman over the age of 50
A family history – Around 5 percent of people being diagnosed with breast cancer have inherited the condition.
Main symptoms to look out for with breast cancer
- A change in size or shape of the breast
- Redness or a rash that has developed on the nipple
- Discharge that comes from the nipple when squeezing
- A swelling in armpit or around the collarbone
- A lump or a thickening that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue
- A change in the skin texture
- The nipple becoming inverted
- A constant pain in the breast or armpit
Be vigilant about breast cancer detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor.
Also, ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screenings based on your personal history.