Over the course of a lifetime, one in eight women—our mothers, sisters, friends, coworkers and neighbors—will develop breast cancer.
We’re not presenting this statistic to scare you—we know women are plenty scared about breast cancer already. We’re presenting them because we want you to know that despite the numbers, you have the power to reduce your odds of getting the disease. And thanks to advances in diagnosis, treatment and care, people diagnosed with breast cancer are living longer and better than ever.
Cut Your Cancer Risk
We don’t yet know what causes breast cancer. Genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors all play a role, but researchers are still trying to determine how much each contributes to the disease.
Choices you make in your daily life also have an effect. To minimize your risk, it’s important for you to keep your weight in check, get plenty of exercise and follow a healthy diet. You also shouldn’t smoke. And if you are menopausal or premenopausal and have a family history of breast cancer, speak with your health care provider about alternatives to traditional hormone therapy to control menopausal symptoms.
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Brisk walking for as little as two hours a week can reduce your breast cancer risk by 18 percent. More exercise has an even greater benefit. So get moving!
Just as important, be diligent in your health checkups. Early detection remains your best defense for catching and curing breast cancer, as it’s most treatable when found early. Perform monthly self-exams, have your breasts examined regularly by a health care provider and schedule those mammograms!
If you do develop breast cancer, or it comes back after treatment, you may be thrown into a dizzying swirl of tests, treatments and extreme emotions. Know that good nutrition, physical activity, a positive attitude and a strong fighting spirit can go a long way in getting you through treatment and reducing your chance of recurrence.