Over the course of the year, over 220,00 women and 2,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer according to the CDC. That’s just one year! With such staggering statistics, it’s likely that you personally know someone who has battled breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to recognize and honor those with who have battled or are currently battling breast cancer. It is also a time to consider what you can do to help lower your own risk of breast cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Numerous studies have indicated that those who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for breast cancer – especially if you were a normal weight when younger. For example, the Nurses Health Study found that women in their 50’s who gained up to 50 pounds since the age of 18 were up to 45% more likely to have breast cancer than those who maintained their weight. (Source)
- Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity correlated to a significant decrease in postmenopausal breast cancer risk. Reduction in risk ranges from 20-80% in the studies reviewed with at least 75 minutes of moderate activity per week. (Source)
- Monitor your alcohol intake. Observational studies have showed a significant relationship between breast cancer risk and alcohol intake. Breast cancer risk was increased by 28-50% in women who routinely drank 2 or more alcoholic beverages/day compared to non-drinkers. (Source)
- Increase your intake of fiber. A few studies have measured a significant 13% breast cancer risk reduction from a higher fiber diet (about 26 grams of fiber/day). So, load up on more fiber and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables throughout the day! (Source)
Take some time this October to sport some pink and work on lowering your risk of breast cancer with these healthy diet and lifestyle changes. Encourage your friends and family to work on making healthy lifestyle changes to their risk as well. Perhaps we can lower those staggering statistics from the CDC!