8 ways to reduce your breast cancer risk



October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence your breast cancer risk. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history, but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways.

Keep a healthy weight – The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn't about short-term dietary changes. It's about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses.

Exercise regularly (at least four hours a week) – Physical activity not only helps to maintain weight and lower blood pressure it also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and several forms of cancer.

Go to bed – Research shows that lack of nighttime sleep can be a risk factor.

Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.

Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens) and chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the body.

Limit exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans if not medically necessary.

If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.

Breastfeed any children you may have, if possible.

Information courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov

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