- Keep a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly (at least four hours a week).
- Get enough sleep.
- Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinigens).
- Try to reduce your exposure to radiation during medical tests like mammograms, X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans.
- If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.
- Breastfeed your babies, if possible.
Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may have a higher breast cancer risk. Talk to your doctor about these ways of reducing your risk—
- Antiestrogens or other medicines that block or decrease estrogen in your body.
- Surgery to reduce your risk of breast cancer—
- Prophylactic (preventive) mastectomy (removal of breast tissue).
- Prophylactic (preventive) salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes).
It is important that you know your family history and talk to your doctor about screening and other ways you can lower your risk. For more information about breast cancer prevention, visit Breast Cancer (PDQ): Prevention.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women of all races. Learn the lifestyle risks for breast cancer.
Patricia, survivor “During chemo the smell of any food cooking turned my stomach and I did not feel good enough to stand and make a salad (I live alone.) Helping those who are alone by bringing them food with no aroma once in a while- even a cold pizza- could make a big difference.” (From the Susan G. Komen website)
Many years ago, I had a next door neighbor who was diagnosed with cancer. I spoke with his wife and asked her if I could bring the family dinner on the days that her husband had chemo. On those days, I made double the amount of food for our evening meal and took half over to their family. Each person and family experiencing cancer needs personalized support!