How to lower the risk of getting breast cancer

1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed is found in a man. Invasive ductal carcinoma.

 While treatment for breast cancer keeps on improving, prevention is always better than cure. Here are some simple and effective steps you can take to help detect and lower your risk of developing breast cancer. 

FIND OUT YOUR FAMILY HISTORY

It’s advisable to chat to your family to determine if there’s a history of cancer. You may be at high risk of breast cancer if you have a mother or sister who developed breast or ovarian cancer (especially at an early age) or if you have multiple family members (including men) who’ve developed breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer. Your healthcare provider can help you understand this more.

FOLLOW A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Being overweight can increase the risk of many different cancers, including breast cancer. Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day and adopting a healthy diet can help lower your risk. It’s as simple as incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

LIMIT ALCOHOL 

Did you know high levels of alcohol intake can increase your risk of developing breast cancer? If you find yourself struggling with your alcohol consumption, it’s advisable to reach out to Alcoholics Anonymous or SANCA.

DON’T SMOKE

Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, including breast cancer. If you’re struggling to cut back on smoking, reach out for help. Organisations such as Narcotics Anonymous can help assist and support you.

DON’T FORGET SCREENING

Although screening can’t prevent cancer, it can help find the cancer early, when it’s most treatable. You should go for regular clinical breast exams. You should also self-examine your breasts regularly and tell your healthcare provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel.

Following these steps will help lower your risk of breast cancer. If you feel you’re at high risk, you should talk to your healthcare provider. You can also contact the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) on 0800 22 66 22 for more information about breast cancer.

Main Image: URMC