Congratulations on investing in your health! These lifestyle recommendations to reduce breast cancer risk will lead to a healthier you by reducing your risk now and in the future. Be your own advocate! Take charge, be mindful of your breast health, and obtain a mammogram every two years if you are age 50 or older. The plan below will help you stay proactive and continue to take care of you.
Move (exercise), Monitor and limit (alcohol intake), discontinue (smoking), Maintain (healthy weight), Manage and reduce (stress).
Alcohol & Smoking: Limiting alcohol and not smoking will also help reduce your risks for breast cancer. Don't drink or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
Exercise: Exercise for at least 4 hours a week. Want ideas on how to start a physical regimen that works for you?
Visit: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Physical Activity Guide
Vitamin D: Current data suggests that higher intake of vitamin D (especially during adolescence) reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. The current recommendation is to take 600 IUs of Vitamin D daily. Your recommended dose may be higher if you are deficient in Vitamin D.
Sleep: Get a good nights sleep!
Hormone Awareness: Despite the many benefits of hormones for contraception and management of menopause there are also potential risks to consider and discuss with your provider. Talk to your doctor if you are taking hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives.
Manage Stress: Manage and reduce stress. Whether your stress is spiraling out of control or you've already got it tamed, you can benefit from learning relaxation techniques. Learning basic relaxation techniques is easy. Relaxation techniques are often free or low cost, pose little risk, and can be done just about anywhere. Relaxation strategies can include: deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, massage, meditation, music & art therapy, and more. Click HERE to check out some stress reducing suggestions from the Mayo Clinic.
Get Your Mammograms: Mammograms are recommended after the age of 50 every 2 years. The density of your breasts matters and should guide the suggested imaging for you. While mammograms remain the gold standard for breast imaging, there are additional technologies for women with dense breasts like breast ultrasound, MRI and 3D Tomosynthesis. Imaging works best when compared with previous results. Know your results! It is a federal mandate that all women be notified of their results within 30 days and the result should include a comment about your breast density and recommendations for follow up screening.
Know your Breasts: Get to know the look and feel of your breasts and let your doctor know immediately if anything makes you nervous. Share what you learn about breast health with your family and friends. Spreading the wording help others lower their risks!