Preventive Care - Partnership for Prevention

Breast cancer is the second leading type of cancer among women. The disease will affect one in eight American women during their lifetime, with treatment costs totaling $7 billion in 2007. Older women are more likely to develop breast cancer, as well as women who are obese and those who have a history of cancer in their family. This year alone, an estimated 192,370 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,170 will die from the disease, making it the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women.

Breast cancer prevention starts with your own health habits such as staying physically active, limiting alcohol, and eating right.

When it comes to breast cancer prevention, the risks you can't control such as your age and genetic makeup may loom large. There are some breast cancer prevention steps you can always take on your own, however. Although these measures provide no guarantee that you won't develop the disease, they'll give you a start toward breast cancer prevention.

Among the easiest things to control are what you eat and drink as well as how active you are. Here are some strategies that may help you decrease your risk of breast cancer:

  • Limit alcohol.

    A link exists between alcohol consumption and breast cancer.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

    There's a clear link between obesity and weighing more than is appropriate for your age and height with breast cancer diagnosis. Experts speculate that estrogen production in fatty tissue may be the link between obesity and breast cancer risk.

  • Stay physically active.

    Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and as a consequence, may aid in breast cancer prevention. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Try to include cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging or aerobics. These have the added benefit of keeping your bones strong.

  • Consider limiting fat in your diet.

    Results from the most definitive study of dietary fat and breast cancer risk to date suggest a slight decrease in risk of invasive breast cancer for women who eat a low-fat diet. For a protective benefit, limit fat intake to less than 35 percent of your daily calories and restrict foods high in saturated fat.

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