6 Tips for Better Breast Health

Breast health matters, but many women aren’t sure, beyond mammograms, what they really need to be doing to protect themselves. It turns out, though, that besides getting regular mammograms, we can do several important things to improve and monitor the health of our breasts. 

1. If You Smoke, Quit

There are several health benefits to quitting smoking, but one of them may be a reduction in the risk of breast cancer. One study found that smoking for 10 years increases the risk of breast cancer by 21%. But stopping now, no matter how long eh person has been smoking, might help reduce that risk.

2. Consider Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding children has been shown to have protective effects against breast cancer. The length of time a woman breastfeeds also matters. Breastfeeding for at least six months has been linked to benefits, with research finding a 4.3% reduced risk of breast cancer for every 12 months a woman breastfeeds. 

3. Focus on a Healthy Weight Range

Staying in a healthy weight range may help protect against breast cancer. Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day has also been shown to reduce breast cancer risk. For postmenopausal women, this may be even more significant. 

4. Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Studies have shown a 15% increased risk of breast cancer in women who drink alcohol. Limiting consumption to one drink per day or less is recommended. For women who have had breast cancer in the past, drinking may raise their risk of recurrence. They should keep their consumption to three drinks per week or fewer.

5. Choose a Healthy Diet

We really are what we eat. A healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of plant-based options may lower the risk of breast cancer. Olive oil and fish are two other good choices for breast health, as both of those have been shown to potentially reduce breast cancer risk. 

6. Perform Breast Self-Exams Regularly

While no substitute for a mammogram, a breast self-exam may help detect suspicious lumps or other problems. Women who perform self-exams regularly may help catch problems early, which could lead to a better outcome. Finding something means a trip to the doctor, who can determine the nature of the issue. 

Getting regularly scheduled mammograms is an important screening tool, but there are plenty of other ways to reduce breast cancer risk and to help maintain good breast health. Of course, taking steps to maintain good overall health can reduce the risks significantly. 

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3/22/2021 4:00:05 PM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
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