3 Steps Women Can Take to Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast-Cancer-PreventionOne out of three women will have the diagnosis of cancer given to them sometime throughout their life. Breast cancer is the second most common malignancy among women. There are around 48,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and 80 percent of these are women over fifty. The good news is that there are lifestyle changes any woman can take to prevent up to 38 percent of breast cancer cases. Take the following three steps:

Step 1. Lose Weight
The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that women who lost 22 pounds after menopause reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by 45 percent.  It also stated that women who gained more than 55 pounds after the age 18 have a 45 percent increase risk of developing breast cancer as compared to women who maintained their weight. The American Cancer Society goes on to suggest that maintaining a healthy body weight may be the single most important role you can control, in the prevention of cancer.

The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute For Cancer Research final report, states: “the evidence that body fatness is a cause of postmenopausal breast cancer is convincing. The Journal of Clinical Oncology found that losing as little as five to ten percent of body weight may reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk, twenty-five to fifty percent. The journal, Breast Cancer Research, reported that women who have already had breast cancer in one breast, were found to have a lower risk of developing a recurrence if they kept at an ideal weight.

Step 2. Exercise More
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studied over 3,000 women, about half of whom had breast cancer. They found that women who exercised had a reduced risk of developing breast cancer.  There was a direct correlation between the amount of exercise and the protection against developing breast cancer, but even those who only did daily brisk walking had a reduced risk.  Those who exercised more intensely, 10 to 19 hours a week, had the greatest benefit of almost thirty percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

The journal, Breast Cancer Research, showed that women who have a family history of breast cancer reduce their risk of breast cancer by a fourth by doing 20 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity at least five times a week, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Step 3. Avoid Drinking Alcohol
The World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research latest write-up reports that there is convincing evidence that alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. In the Nurses’ Health Study, 106,000 women were followed for more than 25 years.  Women who had 3 to 6 drinks per week were 15 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than non-drinkers.  Of the women who averaged 6 to 19 drinks per week, the increased risk for breast cancer was 20 percent.  Those who drank more than 19 drinks per week, the risk rose to 50 percent increase risk for breast cancer.

Research done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that light to moderate alcohol drinkers have an increased risk of breast cancer, as compared to women who do not drink beer, wine, or liquor.  They pointed out that women who drank only three to six glasses of alcohol per week had a fifteen percent higher risk of breast cancer than those who didn’t drink at all.  And those who drank fourteen glasses a week, or an average of two glasses daily, showed a fifty-one percent higher risk of breast cancer.

The Journal of the American Medical Association did a study of over one hundred thousand women. The study confirmed that women who drink more than nineteen drinks a week have a fifty-one percent increased risk of developing breast cancer. The American Institute For Cancer Research recommends for women not to drink alcohol if they are dealing solely with prevention of breast cancer.

Another report from the American Cancer Society stresses, that “alcohol consumption, even at moderate levels, increases breast cancer risk.”

No matter your age, it’s never too early, and never too late, to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for breast cancer.


Learn more about how to develop the best lifestyle to avoid life-threatening diseases, feel better, and live longer in Prescription For Life.


“Pink Breast Cancer Ribbon” by scottchan courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net