Breast cancer prevention

You can’t control all of the risks of breast cancer. But you can stay vigilant and get regular mammograms beginning at age 40 if you’re at average risk or earlier if your healthcare provider recommends it. You can also lead a healthy lifestyle. Several lifestyle practices may lower your risk of breast cancer and many other diseases, including:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid tobacco. There doesn’t appear to be a direct connection between smoking and breast cancer, but avoiding smoking is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Consider breastfeeding. Research suggests that breastfeeding your baby for at least six months may lower breast cancer risk.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Many experts recommend a minimum of two and a half cups of vegetables each day. These foods contain antioxidants and other nutrients that may prevent cancer and help keep you healthy.
  • Get regular exercise. Physical activity may help control your weight and offers other health benefits.
  • Know the risks of alcohol. Three or more drinks containing alcohol each day increase your risk of breast cancer and can cause other health problems.
  • Know your family health history. And talk to your healthcare provider about genetic counseling if your mother, sister or daughter has had breast cancer. Although it’s a big decision, some women at high risk for hereditary breast cancer choose to have preventive surgery.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about mammograms. Women at average risk of breast cancer usually start annual mammograms beginning at age 40. But some women may benefit from earlier screening or increased monitoring. Your provider can help you decide what’s best for you.

Breast cancer risk factors

Most breast cancers have no known cause. Just one in 20 cases is linked to a known genetic mutation. And only about one in 10 can be traced to a family history of the disease. Knowing your family health history and beginning regular mammograms at age 40 are both vital when it comes to protecting your health. But it’s also important to know what factors may increase your risk for breast cancer. Some factors you can’t change. But the more you know about your risk, the better prepared you may be to take steps to help prevent the disease.

Schedule Your Mammogram

Take a positive step for your breast health and schedule a mammogram today.

Learn more about breast cancer screening and what sets us apart at the Schmidt Family Center for Breast Care.

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