Not all cancers are unavoidable. You can decrease your risk of developing some cancers by taking preventative measures, including breast cancer. The American Cancer Society explains that 1/3 of cancer death are linked to lifestyle choices, including poor diet, physical inactivity and having excess weight. Research has also shown that when cancer survivors carry excess weight, they have a higher risk of developing breast cancer again in their lifetime.
These approaches can be reached by decreasing the number of calories consumed each day. Think about decreasing portion size, limiting fast food, sharing meals at restaurants, eating fruits and vegetables as a snack instead of other high-fat options, as well as consuming lower fat dairy and meat products.
Did you know that limiting alcohol not only decreases calories but also decreases risk of developing breast cancer? Your risk for developing breast cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. The American Cancer Society recommends that women limit their consumption of alcohol to no more than one drink per day; this is equal to 5 oz of wine (small glass), 12 oz beer or a mixed drink made with 1.5 oz of liquor.
Exercise is also an important component with decreasing your risk of cancer especially breast cancer. Exercise can help decrease body fat, which then lowers levels of cancer-promoting hormones such as estrogen. Try to set exercise goals each week, aiming at a minimum of 150 minutes per week of physical activity.
With October being breast cancer awareness month, let’s take a step towards healthier lifestyles by managing weight, increasing physical activity, and opting for healthier food choices. Consult your Physician and Registered Dietitian for specific concerns regarding your health.