10 ways to boost breast health and avoid cancer risks
We hear a lot about breast cancer, and for good reason: It’s a significant health threat — especially for women.
We’re sharing some steps you can take to improve your breast health and reduce your risks for breast cancer. These tips can also improve your overall health and wellness.
Quit smoking: If you’re among the 85% of Americans who don’t smoke, you’re already ahead of the game. If you’d like help finding an effective way to quit, see your health care provider or visit smokefree.gov .
Limit or eliminate alcohol and caffeine: One drink a day or less is a guideline to follow for better health.
Stay at a healthy weight: Your health care provider can help you determine a healthful weight for you, and you can take this quick, free online assessment to learn more by clicking here.
Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day: See the American Cancer Society’s recommendations for optimal body weight and nutrition.
Get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week: Fitness is important no matter what.
Avoid refined or heavily processed foods and refined sugar: Consider alternatives such as stevia, xylitol, agave nectar or honey.
Get enough sleep: Like with fitness, getting good sleep can help with a number of health issues.
Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution: Some research suggests that high doses of radiation may be linked to breast cancer. If a test using radiation is suggested for you, visit with your health care professional for a discussion about the test’s safety and necessity.
Be aware of your breasts’ appearance: Self-breast awareness can be a good way to notice changes that may be a sign of a problem such as breast cancer. Breast cancer symptoms may include:
- A change in how your breasts or nipples feel. This may include tenderness, a lump in the breast or armpit or a change in your skin’s texture.
- A change in your breast or nipple appearance. This can include a change in size, dimpling, swelling, shrinking, asymmetry (such as a difference in breast size or position on your body) or inverted nipples (one or both nipples retract into the breast).
- Spontaneous or bloody nipple discharge.
Get your recommended breast screenings: Your health care provider can discuss the best screening plan for you. Screening recommendations differ based on your individual risk factors such as being a smoker, your family cancer history, age, weight and overall health.
Want to learn more about your breast cancer risk? Take a free, quick online assessment by clicking here.
About the Author
Judy A. Tjoe, MD, is a surgeon who specializes on breast disease at Aurora Comprehensive Breast Care Center in Milwaukee, WI.