Last Updated on September 16, 2022 by Lori Geurin
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and we’re all looking for ways to help prevent breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, and it’s estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. But there are things we can do to lower our risk. Here are five breast cancer awareness tips to help you stay as healthy as possible.
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- 5 Breast Cancer Awareness Tips
- 1. Maintain a healthy weight.
- 2. Get regular exercise.
- 3. Limit alcohol intake.
- 4. Avoid tobacco.
- 5. Breastfeed, if possible.
- Final Thoughts: How To Prevent Breast Cancer Naturally
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5 Breast Cancer Awareness Tips
1. Maintain a healthy weight.
Carrying excess weight increases your breast cancer risk, so it’s essential to maintain healthy body weight. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.[*]
The number on the scale is not always the best indicator of good health, yet for many women, it’s the only thing that matters. Diet culture has brainwashed us into thinking that thinner is always better, but that’s simply not true. A healthy weight is different for everyone, and focusing on being the best version of yourself is essential rather than trying to meet an arbitrary standard. Here are four tips for healthily managing your weight.
Ditch the Diet Mentality
Dieting is not sustainable or healthy in the long term. The yo-yo effect of losing and gaining weight can be hard on your body, and it’s often more challenging to lose weight after repeated diet cycles. Instead of going on a diet, make lifelong lifestyle changes that you can stick to. That might mean eating more whole foods, cutting out processed snacks, or cooking at home more often. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you can do long-term.
Move Your Body in Ways You Enjoy
There are many ways to get exercise, and it’s important to find forms of movement that you enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with them. If you hate going to the gym, don’t force yourself to do it! There are many other options, like taking walks outdoors, working out at home with online videos or DVDs, taking a dance class, or playing a sport. Find something that makes you happy and stick with it.
Listen to Your Body’s Hunger Cues
Many of us have been taught to eat when we’re not hungry, either because we think we “should” or because there’s food there, and we don’t want to waste it. But eating when you’re not actually hungry is a surefire way to gain weight. Start paying attention to your body’s hunger cues and eat only when you’re truly hungry. You might be surprised how much less you need to eat than you thought!
When you’re hungry, focus on eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and protein.
Seek Professional Help if You Need It
If you’ve been struggling with your weight for a long time, it might be helpful to seek professional help from a registered dietitian or therapist specializing in disordered eating and body image issues. They can help you develop a healthy relationship with food and your body so you can finally break free from the diet mentality and achieve lasting success.
The most important thing to remember is that there is no “perfect” weight or size. Everyone is different, and as long as you’re taking care of yourself physically and mentally, you’re doing fine. Focus on making lifestyle changes that you can stick to improve your health overall rather than fixating on reaching a certain number on the scale. And if you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance—it could be precisely what you need to succeed!
2. Get regular exercise.
Not only does exercise help you maintain a healthy weight, and being physically active reduces your breast cancer risk.[*] Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.
Regular exercise is essential for our overall health and well-being, but finding the time and motivation to be physically active can be challenging. And let’s be honest, working out is not always fun. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some tips on making exercise a regular part of your life – and even enjoy it in the process.
Find an activity that you enjoy.
If you hate running, don’t force yourself to do it just because you think it’s “good for you.” There are so many different types of exercise out there, so take some time to try different things until you find something that feels good. Consider walking, biking, swimming, rowing, yoga, Pilates, dance classes, hiking, etc. Once you find something you enjoy, it will be much easier to stick with it regularly.
Set some realistic goals.
Trying to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks is not only unrealistic, but it’s also not very healthy or sustainable. Start small and focus on lifestyle changes you can stick with over the long term. Maybe your goal is to walk 3 times per week for 30 minutes at a time. Or perhaps you want to try a new workout class once per week. Whatever it is, make sure your goals are realistic and attainable. Creating healthy habits is essential!
Commit to yourself – and keep it!
Once you’ve set your goals, commit to yourself that you will stick with them. Write down your goals and put them somewhere where you will see them daily as a reminder. Tell your friends and family about your commitment so they can help hold you accountable. And most importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day or week – we all do! Just pick yourself up and start again as soon as possible.
Exercise is vital for our overall health and well-being – there’s no doubt about that. But it doesn’t have to be boring or tedious! By finding an activity you enjoy and setting realistic goals, you can make exercise a regular part of your life – and even have fun in the process!
3. Limit alcohol intake.
Alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. The more you drink, the greater your risk. So what can you do to protect yourself? Limit alcohol intake.
It’s easy to forget about the long-term effects of our actions when we’re in the moment, enjoying ourselves. But it’s important to remember that everything we do has good and bad consequences. When it comes to alcohol, we often focus on the good—the relaxation, the socialization, the buzz. But we need to be mindful of the bad as well. Excessive drinking can lead to many problems, not the least of which is an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
In 2012, there were 232,340 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women in the US alone.[*]
Studies have shown that even moderate drinking (those with 1-2 drinks per day) is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to non-drinkers.
The risks are even more significant for heavy drinkers (those who have 3 or more drinks per day).
So what can you do to protect yourself? The best way to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer is to limit your alcohol intake. If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. And if you’re concerned about your drinking habits, talk to your doctor.
No one likes being told what they can and can’t do, but sometimes it’s necessary. That’s especially true when it comes to alcohol and breast cancer risk. There’s no denying that excessive drinking increases your chances of developing breast cancer. So, limiting your alcohol intake is an excellent place to start if you want to lower your risk. Cheers!
4. Avoid tobacco.
Tobacco use is linked to an increased breast cancer risk, so quitting is the best way to reduce your risk. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Every year, more than 480,000 Americans die from tobacco-related illnesses, and more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease.[*]
Despite these staggering statistics, many people still don’t understand the dangers of tobacco use. Many people view tobacco use as a personal choice that doesn’t affect anyone but the user. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Tobacco use not only harms the user, but it also harms those around them.
If you’re a woman trying to avoid tobacco for your health, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.
Avoiding tobacco starts with education. It’s essential to understand the risks associated with tobacco use to make an informed decision about whether or not to use tobacco products. Once you know the risks, you can begin to take steps to avoid tobacco use.
If you’re a woman who is trying to quit smoking, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of success. First, talk to your doctor about quitting smoking. They can provide you with resources and support to help you through the process. Second, join a support group or utilize a quit-smoking hotline. Hearing from others who have successfully quit smoking can give you the motivation and encouragement you need to quit for good. Finally, make a plan to quit smoking and stick to it. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is possible. Taking these steps can dramatically reduce your risk of developing a smoking-related disease.
5. Breastfeed, if possible.
Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and child, and it may also reduce your breast cancer risk. If you can breastfeed, do so for as long as possible.
Breastfeeding is one of a mother’s most natural and personal experiences with her child. It provides invaluable nutrition and immunological protection for infants and helps foster an essential bond between mother and child.[*] For mothers, breastfeeding can help to ease postpartum recovery, improve bonding, and reduce stress.[*] Given all of the benefits, it’s no wonder that the experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers
In addition to promoting bonding and providing essential nutrients, breastfeeding can provide several other benefits for mothers. For instance, research has shown that breastfeeding can help to:
- Ease postpartum recovery: A mother’s body undergoes many changes to accommodate milk production after childbirth. These changes cause the uterus to contract and shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly.
- Improve mental health: Studies have found that breastfeeding can help to ease symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety. Additionally, oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, can help promote a sense of calm and well-being.
- Reduce stress: Besides promoting relaxation, oxytocin can also help lower the stress hormone cortisol levels. This can reduce tension, improve sleep, and increase energy levels.
- Lower risk of certain chronic diseases: Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer later in life.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Children
Breast milk is packed with nutrients essential for an infant’s growth and development. Additionally, it contains antibodies that help to protect babies from illnesses like diarrheal disease, respiratory infections, ear infections, meningitis, and pneumonia. Research has also shown that breastfeeding can lead to:
- Improved cognitive development: One study found that infants who were exclusively breastfed for at least three months had higher IQ scores at age six than those who were not breastfed or were only partially breastfed.
- Lower risk of chronic diseases: Breastfed children have a lower risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, asthma, and allergies later in life. Additionally, research suggests that breastfeeding may play a role in preventing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Enhanced bonding: The physical closeness inherent in breastfeeding can help babies feel safe and secure while promoting attachment between mother and child.
Final Thoughts: How To Prevent Breast Cancer Naturally
While there’s no surefire way to prevent breast cancer, healthy lifestyle choices can significantly reduce your risk. So put on your walking shoes, pour yourself a glass of water instead of wine tonight, and be sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. Together, we can help fight this disease!
What breast cancer awareness tips would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any health decisions.