Preventing Breast Cancer–Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Oct 30, 2017
Healthy lifestyle choices
Healthy lifestyle choices may help lower your risk of different types of cancer and other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Although not all the behaviors listed below lower the risk of breast cancer, they are good for overall health.*
One large study found women who followed these guidelines had a lower risk of breast and other types of cancer including colorectal cancer .
Everyone should aim to:
- Be physically active (get regular exercise).
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (People diagnosed with breast cancer who are overweight or obese should limit high-calorie foods and beverages and increase physical activity to help with weight loss.)
- Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
- Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).
- Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often.
- Limit “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats). These are found in foods such as red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy products, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.
- Eat “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.
- Limit alcohol to less than 1 drink a day for women and fewer than 2 drinks a day for men.
Adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines .
* Being physically active, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol and to a lesser degree, eating fruits and vegetables may help lower your risk of breast cancer. Other guidelines are good for your overall health and may help lower the risk of other types of cancer.
Learn more about body weight and breast cancer risk.
Learn more about exercise (physical activity) and breast cancer risk.
Organic foods do not appear to lower the risk of breast cancer or overall cancer .
Meat and dairy
Organic meat and dairy products come from animals raised without growth hormones or antibiotics.
While some people prefer to eat organic meat, chicken and dairy, this does not appear to lower the risk of cancer .
At this time, scientific evidence does not show a link between the growth hormones or antibiotics used in conventional animal farming and cancer .
Learn more about meat and breast cancer risk.
Learn more about dairy and breast cancer risk.
Fruits and vegetables
Organic plants are grown without the use of conventional pesticides. Conventional fruits and vegetables may have low-levels of pesticide residue.
According to the American Cancer Society, the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables outweigh any health risks linked with pesticide residue .
Fruits and vegetables (both organic and conventional) are part of a healthy diet.
Buying fresh (or frozen) conventional produce and thoroughly washing and rinsing before eating is always a healthy choice .
Learn more about fruits and vegetables and breast cancer risk.
Learn more about pesticides and breast cancer risk.
It’s never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle
Everyone can benefit from a healthy lifestyle.
Being active, eating a balanced diet and making healthy lifestyle choices can be physically and mentally rewarding at any point in life.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website www.choosemyplate.gov has free tools to help you set weight and activity goals for healthy living.
For example, their Supertracker tool can help you plan, track and analyze your diet and exercise.
Breast cancer screening
Getting regular screening tests (and treatment if diagnosed) lowers the risk of dying from breast cancer.
Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when the chances for survival are highest.
Learn more about breast cancer screening.
Susan G. Komen®’s breast self-awareness messages
|1. Know your risk
2. Get screened
3. Know what is normal for you and see a health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes (see images):
4. Make healthy lifestyle choices