Most people believe that cancer is hereditary… that if they have the “gene for it” there is nothing they can do to stop it.
However, research repeatedly shows that only a small portion of cancers are genetic. The majority of cancer cases are a direct result of lifestyle. This includes breast cancer—the cancer women fear the most.
With this in mind, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) shares three simple strategies that can prevent one out of every three breast cancer cases here in the U.S.
“While there are no guarantees when it comes to developing cancer, what we do know is that women can take steps everyday to reduce the odds of developing breast cancer, along with many other cancers and chronic disease,” said Alice Bender, AICR’s Head of Nutrition Programs. “This is such an empowering and important message.”
- Get moving! If you don’t get enough physical activity, it can greatly increase your chances of breast cancer. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily can reduce the risk. It doesn’t matter whether you spend that time gardening, walking or running. Just get up and get moving.
- Get to—and stay at—a healthy weight. Most people don’t realize it, but being overweight is an independent risk factor for the development of a variety of cancers. In fact, it’s one of the strongest factors linked to an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. It’s easier to lose weight if you avoid processed foods and focus on a diet that includes plenty of antioxidant-rich vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish. Red meat should also be limited.
- Drink in moderation. Even small amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can increase the risk of breast cancer. And the more you drink, the higher the risk. AICR recommends that women limit alcohol intake to one glass a day.
In conclusion Bender says, “When it comes to breast cancer, you can take control to lower risk through lifestyle changes that offer powerful protection.”
Anand P, et al. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes. Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.
3 Steps to Prevent 1 of 3 Breast Cancer Cases. Press Release. American Institute for Cancer Research. Sept 2016.