Only 5 to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary. Therefore, regardless of genes and family history, taking into account all other risk factors, everyone can still be at risk of developing the disease. However, it can be prevented with regular screening and positive lifestyle changes.
Breast cancer risk factors that you should be aware of are as follows:
- being a woman
- Old age (50 and over)
- family history
- Personal history of breast and/or ovarian cancer
- Genetics (genes such as BRCA1, BRCA2, and others associated with breast cancer)
- Early menstruation (menstruation before 11)
- Late menopause (after 55)
- Use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- History of pregnancy (first child after 30 or not having had a full-term pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding history
- Use of oral contraceptives
- Exposure to radiation and/or chemicals
- Lifestyle factors (immobility, cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, unhealthy eating)
I am at high risk for breast cancer because my mother had it at age 56. I had my first period at age 10, I have thick breasts (with some benign hard nodules), and have never given birth. But I will do everything in my power to continue preventing this disease for as long as I have the opportunity, with regular breast exams, along with health checks and of course healthy living. I have been consistent in doing mammograms and breast ultrasound for the past 10 years.
Before we end Breast Cancer Prevention Month, let me share with you the most effective lifestyle prevention strategies you can do to prevent breast cancer based on research.
Make movement a part of your daily life
A study was published last month in British Journal of Sports Medicine It reveals that increasing general physical activity and decreasing sitting or sitting time can reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. Analysis of the data showed that a genetically predicted high overall level of physical activity can reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer by 41%, regardless of menopausal status, tumor type, stage or grade. Compared to a sedentary person, genetically predicted vigorous activity (3 or more days per week) was associated with a 38% lower risk of developing breast cancer. Finally, a higher level of genetically predicted sitting time was associated with a 104% increased risk of triple-negative breast cancer (more aggressive, faster growing, and harder to treat than breast cancer).
a study conducted among women at high risk of developing the disease shows that 2.7 hours of moderate exercise (walking) or 1.5 hours of vigorous exercise (running) may reduce the risk of breast cancer by about 20%.
Standard recommendations for physical activity for prevention include 150-300 minutes of moderate activity and 75-100 minutes of vigorous activity. Make movement a daily habit so you can progress to moderate activities (50-70% of your MHR) like dancing, brisk walking, and eventually vigorous activities (70-85% of your MHR like running, boxing, indoor cycling, and interval training) high density).
*MHR is 220 years old.
Maintain a healthy weight
Postmenopausal women (usually 50 years and older) who have excess body fat, which increases the amount of estrogen in the body, can be at risk of developing breast cancer. A 2019 study published in Cancer Institute Journal It indicates that a moderate weight loss of 4.5 to 11 pounds is associated with a reduced risk of this disease (32% decreased risk for 11 pounds and above).
Combine cardio and strength training lose body fatand not just the total body weight.
Limit or avoid alcohol consumption
Alcohol, which is classified as a group 1 human carcinogen, can increase the risk of developing seven types of cancer (breast, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colorectal). according to World Health Organization (WHO)Reducing alcohol can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. In fact, 100,000 out of more than 2 million cases of breast cancer are attributable to alcohol consumption. Alcohol can increase estrogen levels in the body, which has been linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer.
A meta-analysis of 53 studies published in British Journal of Cancer It shows that compared to women who do not drink, the relative risk of developing breast cancer is 32% higher for those who consume 3-4 cups per day and by 46% when they have more than 4 drinks per day. The risk increases by 7% for each serving of alcohol (10 grams).
Limit your alcohol intake to less than one serving per day, or you may want to consider stopping completely to ensure you are less likely to drink.
Eat red meat in moderation
Red meat consumption may increase the risk of invasive breast cancer according to a 2020 study published in International Journal of Cancer. The study indicates that replacing poultry is a much better alternative.
A higher intake of meat (beef and lamb) cooked at higher temperatures (frying, frying, charring, grilling) and animal fats, and processed meats (pork, bacon, salami, sausage) have been linked to breast cancer causes due to the production of Carcinogenic substances. Try cooking meat on a low heat by steaming, boiling, and stewing.
Limit your consumption of lean red meat to less than three servings per week (one serving = the size of a deck of cards). Eat other protein sources such as poultry, seafood, eggs, and tofu.
Stay away from ultra-processed foods
results recent study Conducted among young Latin American women aged 20-40 reported ultra-processed foods such as ready-to-eat foods, cakes, sweets, soft and industrial fruit juice drinks, breakfast cereals, sausages, reconstituted meat products (used to make nuggets and ham), industrial bread, and dairy products (and its derivatives) and packaged salty snacks may increase the risk of breast cancer. These products may contain additives and preservatives associated with them.
Practice eating cancer-fighting foods regularly
Eating healthy food can improve the health of your gut which severely affects your immune system, just like what I discussed In my previous article.
Studies have shown that these foods can reduce the risk of breast cancer (and other types of cancer, too):
- Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, bok choy, watercress)
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts)
- Allium vegetables (garlic, onion, shallot, and chives)
- Seeds and nuts (walnuts, flaxseeds)
- Spices and herbs (turmeric, thyme, thyme, black pepper, parsley, cinnamon)
- Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel)
- Berries (blueberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries)
- Fermented foods (kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, kefir)
- Acidic foods (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes, and pomelos)
- Foul (lentils, chickpeas, and beans)
- Whole grains (wheat grain products, red rice, black rice, oats, millet, barley, sorghum)
- Green tea
Aside from choosing wisely what you eat by focusing on anti-cancer foods and avoiding alcohol, processed foods, sugar and saturated fats. You also need to practice portion control to avoid gaining weight, as obesity (too much body fat) can lead to cancer.
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