Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that affects women, second only to skin cancer. But if you have never got yourself tested, if you know of someone in the family who has been diagnosed with the same, or if you want to make sure that you are not at risk but don’t know how to do so, do not worry yet.
The good news is that, with the right preventive measures and timely care, you can reduce your chances of being at risk for breast cancer.
1. Avoid Birth Control Pills
One of the most common ways that women tend to take precaution against an unplanned pregnancy is to pop a birth control after having unprotected sex. However, while it may not directly cause breast cancer if you are young, once you are 35 or above, it has a higher risk of pushing you towards the same.
2. Reduce Or Stop Smoking
One of the benefits of reducing or stopping smoking is that it also reduces your chances of developing breast cancer. In addition, cutting down on smoking will also reduce your wrinkles and your signs of aging, so it’s a win-win situation.
3. Keep Your Weight In Check
If you gained excess weight as a result of menopause, or generally during your adult years, it could add to your risk of breast cancer. When you have more fat tissue, it raises your estrogen levels and, or insulin, which can then increase your chances of getting breast cancer. Pay attention to eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis.
4. Cut Down Your Sitting Time
Women who spend more time sitting at a stretch are at a higher risk of breast cancer as compared to those who move around at regular intervals. Not only does it increase your chances of breast cancer, it also puts you at a higher risk for other types of cancer.
5. Avoid Or Reduce Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Most women who suffered from symptoms of menopause were regularly put on HRT, which increased their risk of breast cancer. In fact, when you take a combination of progestin and oestrogen-based drugs, it increases your risk of developing breast cancer. Once you stop the same, you may go down to your regular hormonal levels in a span of 5 years, but the risks still remain.
6. Avoid Alcohol
Depending on how much you drink, your chances of developing breast cancer can be high or low. For instance, if you regularly take between 2 to 5 drinks of alcohol a day, you are at a higher risk of breast cancer than women who have 1 alcoholic drink a day. Bringing down your alcohol intake can definitely reduce your chances of getting diagnosed with breast cancer.
7. Get Examined
Most women avoid getting regularly tested for breast cancer, but it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make sure you are safe. Speak to your doctor and schedule an examination, and go for the annual tests that can help assess your risk as well overall health.
8. Breastfeed If Possible
If you have had a baby, try and breastfeed for the first year. When you breastfeed your baby for the first six months at least, it reduces your chances of developing breast cancer by almost 10 percent as compared to women who do not. When you breastfeed, your menstrual cycle stops for some time and your cycle also gets limited. It also reduces the amount of oestrogen, which helps to reduce your chances of breast cancer.
In addition to the above, speak to your immediate family members and other relatives and find out if anyone was diagnosed with breast cancer. It will help your doctor understand your chances of the same, and if required, you can also go for a genetic consultation.