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  • Michael Frey, MD

Ten Tips to Lower Breast Cancer Risk

TIP 1 Balance Your Diet: Fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Make a little room for protein such as poultry or red meat. More than 5 cups a day of plant-based fare is a good guideline. Vegetables found in the brassica family have been shown to be beneficial cancer fighters. These include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and many more. Berries, cherries, kale, tomatoes, and spinach contain nutrients that promote cellular health and protect the cell from damage.

TIP 2 Maintain A Healthy Weight: Being overweight not only increases your risk for breast cancer, but it also increases the likelihood of reoccurrence in those who have had breast cancer.

TIP 3 Exercise: Aim for 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week.

TIP 4 Limit Alcohol and Tabacco: No-brainer here.

TIP 5 Keep it Dark at Night: Women exposed to a lot of light at night -- whether because they do shift work or they live in well-lit areas -- may have a higher risk of breast cancer. If you can, try to control how much light you’re around at night. Tools like blackout shades, a sleeping mask, and low-watt bulbs in your bathroom can help.

TIP 6 Check Your Toiletries: Many cosmetics, lotions, and hair products have parabens, which can act as a weak estrogen in your body. Some scientists think these chemicals might be a risk factor for breast cancer, but the research is far from clear.

TIP 7 Limit The Use of Hormone Replacement: Using hormone therapy after menopause can increase your risk of breast cancer. There are non-hormonal options to treat menopausal symptoms.

TIP 8 Breastfeed: The longer you breastfeed, the greater the protective effect.

TIP 9 Don't Forget Mammograms: Breast cancer screening with mammograms saves lives. It can help find cancer early when it’s more treatable. Also, KNOW YOUR TISSUE TYPE! If yours have less fatty flesh and more milk glands and supportive tissue, you may have dense breasts. Dense breasts can make abnormal cells harder to spot on scans. If you have dense breasts, make sure you are getting a breast sonogram with your mammogram.

TIP 10 Find Out Your Family History: Women with a strong family history of cancer can take special steps to protect themselves, so it’s important for women to know their family history.


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