According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. This year, nearly 40,000 women in the United States will die from the disease. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States, after lung cancer. Erica Mayer, MD, M.P.H., is a breast cancer expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She says there are at least five simple ways women can reduce their risk of getting the disease:
1-Get a mammogram
It's recommended women get a mammogram starting at age 40. "Mammography screening does not prevent or cure breast cancer, but it may detect the disease before symptoms occur," said Dr. Mayer.
2-Eat a healthy diet and keep your weight under control
The American Cancer Society recommends a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fiber. "High-fat diets can lead to being overweight or obese, which is a risk factor for breast cancer," said Dr. Mayer.
There's growing evidence that physical activity reduces a woman's breast cancer risk. According to one small study, women who engaged in 10 to 19 hours of physical activity per week during their reproductive years or after menopause experienced a 30% reduced risk of developing breast cancer. "Women who exercise regularly appear to be less likely to develop breast cancer. Cancer survivors who are active may have less risk of cancer recurrence compared to those who are more sedentary," said Dr. Mayer.