Reducing your risk of breast cancer

July 4, 2012 at 6:00 a.m.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women in America. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer that all women should be aware of so that they can make the effort to stay healthy.

A few simple changes can really make a big difference and drastically reduce your risk of breast cancer. Here are a few ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer to get you started:

  1. Stop Smoking -- One sure fire way for a healthier lifestyle is to stop smoking. Though there is no direct correlation between breast cancer and smoking, research has indicated that a woman's risk rises when they begin to smoke at a young age.
  2. Alcohol Consumption -- Drinking alcohol has been linked to cancer. Women who have 2-5 drinks per day increase their risk by 1 1/2 times compared to those who don't indulge.
  3. Eat a Low Fat Diet -- Being overweight can actually increase your chances of breast cancer. This happens due to the fact that fatty tissue contains estrogen, which is known as a major cause in breast cancer development. You can reduce the risk of breast cancer by eating a low fat diet.
  4. Get Active -- Physical activity may actually help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Studies have shown that simply walking 1- 2 hours per week could reduce a woman's breast cancer risk by almost 18%.

Below are some of the common breast cancer symptoms. Women over 50 should have a yearly mammogram screening for breast cancer even if breast cancer symptoms are not present.

Breast cancer symptoms may include:

  • Changes or dimpling of the skin of the breast
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • A lump in the breast
  • Changes in the shape or size of the breast
  • Inverted nipple

See your doctor immediately if you find a lump or other changes in your breast. Most issues will not lead to breast cancer, but it is better to get checked to ensure your well being.

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