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Health & Disease Prevention, National Health Observances

What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Breast Cancer?

Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence your breast cancer risk. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history, but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways—

·         Keep a healthy weight.

·         Exercise regularly (at least four hours a week).

·         Research shows that lack of nighttime sleep can be a risk factor.

·         Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.

·         Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens)and chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the body.

·         Limit exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans if not medically necessary.

·         If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives(birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.

·         Breastfeed any children you may have, if possible.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may be at high risk for getting breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about more ways to lower your risk.

Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.