What lifestyle changes can I make to prevent breast cancer?

There is no known way to prevent breast cancer. But you have a much better prognosis if you can find and treat breast cancer early. To do that, follow this advice:
  • At age 40 for women at an average risk of breast cancer, begin having screening mammograms every year.
  • For women at high risk of breast cancer, starting at age 30 or an age determined by your healthcare professional, begin having annual screening mammograms together with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • To make sure you get the best possible mammogram, look for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certificate, which should be prominently displayed at the facility. Facilities not meeting FDA requirements may not lawfully perform mammography.
  • If you're in your 20s and 30s and at an average risk, have your healthcare professional physically examine your breasts at least once every three years.
  • Become familiar with how your breasts feel and what is "normal" for you; examine your breasts periodically and see a healthcare professional if you feel or see any changes that don't go away after one menstrual cycle.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintain your ideal body weight, exercise regularly and drink in moderation, if at all. A University of Washington (Seattle) study found that exercise and lack of obesity in adolescence significantly delayed the onset of breast cancer, including onset in high-risk women who carried genetic mutations for the disease.
  • Engage in frequent and regular physical exercise. Some studies suggest it may reduce your breast cancer risk.
  • If you're at very high risk for breast cancer because of a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, an inherited breast cancer gene abnormality or previous breast cancer, talk to your healthcare professional about a prophylactic mastectomy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.