Mammograms are important, because breast cancer can be detected early through screening. But prevention is also an important aspect of protecting yourself from breast cancer. Here are five ways you can lower your risk of developing breast cancer:
Get regular exercise
At least 150 minutes each week results in potential risk reduction of 20-50 percent.
The rate of new breast cancer cases is 24 percent higher among smokers than among nonsmokers.
Maintain a healthy body weight
Being overweight or obese after the age of 18 increases your risk as much as 30 percent. Use this body-mass index (BMI) calculator to find out if you need to lose weight.
Limit alcoholic beverages
No more than one alcoholic beverage per day.
Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy after menopause
Do not use combination hormone therapy for more than five years after menopause. Continued use can increase your risk by more than 35 percent. Talk to your doctor before making any change.
These lifestyle changes will help to lower your risk. However some risk factors, such as family history, can’t be changed. If you have a family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer or have dense breasts cancer, Christiana Care’s Breast Cancer Prevention Program is available to help.
The program provides women in our community with the information and tools to know their personal risk of breast cancer. Our Breast Health Team will meet with you to provide a physical examination that includes:
- Review of your breast imaging.
- Review of any previous breast biopsy results.
- Review of your family history.
The team will use computer models to calculate your personal risk and to outline risk reduction strategies personalized for you. We will recommend tailored screening options appropriate to your level of risk and age. If a referral for genetic counseling is appropriate, we will facilitate that.
For more information or to schedule a Breast Center Prevention Program appointment, call 302-623-4343.