As Breast Cancer Awareness month draws to a close, we wanted to thank everyone — from athletes to celebrities to marathon runners to people like you — who are supporting the cause.
There are things we all can do to help decrease our risk, and in honor of keeping the awareness movement going long after October, we’re sharing 10 of them, courtesy of the experts at the Mayo Clinic:
1. Limit Alcohol – If you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink per day. Greater alcohol consumption is linked to higher risks of breast cancer development.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight – Overweight women are at a higher risk for breast cancer. This is especially true if your weight gain occurs after menopause. Keeping your weight at a healthy level will limit your risk of many other diseases, too.
3. Exercise Regularly – The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. If you need motivation and ideas, click here.
4. Use Lower Estrogen Birth Control – While newer studies don’t show a direct correlation between higher estrogen pills and breast cancer, prior research does. To be safe, ask your doctor if a lower estrogen pill can be as effective for you.
5. Avoid Air Pollution – Although further research is necessary, some studies suggest that exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are found in vehicle exhaust and air pollution, can cause breast cancer.
6. Breast-Feed – Studies show that breast-feeding may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
7. Eat Healthy – Although eating fruits and vegetables doesn’t directly prevent breast cancer, it does help you maintain a healthy weight, and provide your body with healthy fiber and antioxidants, which can help stave off disease.
8. Avoid Long-Term Hormone Therapy – Hormone therapy in long-term doses can increase the risk of breast cancer. Always discuss your dosage options with your doctor to avoid taking more hormones than you need, for longer than you need.
9. Be Aware of Changes – If you detect any changes like lumps or skin alterations, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
10. Get Mammograms – Don’t assume self exams are enough. Talk to your doctor about when you should start mammogram screening procedures, and make sure to schedule them as she suggests.
For more Breast Cancer Prevention information from the Mayo Clinic, click here.