How Much Does Lifestyle Contribute to Breast Cancer Risk?


It is estimated that 250,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. This statistic is amazing considering self breast exams can be performed monthly and that there are diagnostic screenings available for women at higher risk for breast cancer. Risk factors of breast cancer for the average women include age, smoking history, obesity, diet and exercise level, and the use of hormone therapy after menopause. Women who have a genetically high risk for breast cancer should begin screening earlier than the average woman.

It has been long thought that a woman with a genetic risk for breast cancer would be unable to avoid the diagnosis, but new research shows that may not be true. Lifestyle choices greatly influence a person’s overall cancer risk. Women can decrease their risk of breast cancer by not smoking, eating healthily, exercising regularly and by not using hormone therapy following menopause. Making these lifestyle changes show a decreased risk in developing breast cancer even among women with genetic risk.

Although lifestyle choices play a large part in your cancer risk, they cannot prevent you from receiving a cancer diagnosis. Since we are unable to prevent ourselves completely from getting cancer, it is important to closely follow your doctor’s recommendations for diagnostic screening and perform monthly self breast exams. Report anything unusual or new to your doctor. The doctors at The Woman’s Clinic specialize in just this type of care. If you are overdue for your yearly mammogram, now is the time to call and schedule!

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