Breast cancer prevention starts with healthy habits. Understand how to reduce your Breast Cancer risk.
- Eat healthily – Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low in sugars, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods. Eat whole grains and mixed nuts. Eat lean protein such as chicken and fish, avoid red meat. Choose vegetable oil over animal fats.
- Avoid becoming overweight- Obesity raises the risk of breast cancer especially after menopause. Avoid gaining weight. Keep your BMI( Body mass index) under 25. Control your weight.
- Stay physically active- Research suggests that increasing physical activity even when begun later in life reduces breast cancer risk by 10 to 30 percent. Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight. A 30-minute walk five days a week gives you protection against Breast Cancer.
- Don’t smoke- Evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in postmenopausal women.
- Drink little or no alcohol- The more alcohol you drink the greater your risk of developing Breast Cancer. Limit yourself to less than one drink a day.
- Breast-feed- The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
- Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy- Combination hormone therapy for more than 3-5 years increases the risk of breast cancer. You might be able to manage your postmenopausal symptoms with nonhormonal therapies and medications. Or use the lowest dose that works for you. Discuss with your doctor.
- Avoid exposure to unnecessary radiation and environmental pollution- Medical imaging methods such as CT SCANS use high doses of radiation. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary. Discuss with your doctor.
The writer, Dr. Rashmi Sharma, is a Senior Consultant Surgical Oncology (Breast Services) at, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital in Gurugram