Throughout the world, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today we are listing five actions women can take to diminish their risk of developing this disease.
In total we will review 10 actions, divided into the next two posts. You can click on any of the links within the text below to see more detailed information.
1) Don’t consume more than 1 drink of alcohol per day
Women who drink two or more alcoholic drinks per day have a 50% higher risk of breast cancer than women who don’t drink. If you drink alcohol, keep to one drink a day or less.
2) Keep your weight in a normal range
Overweight women have an increased risk of breast cancer probably because estrogen is also produced within the fat cells themselves, and this extra estrogen can activate some breast cancers. It is especially important to avoid extra weight after menopause. Extra fat around the abdominal region is probably more dangerous than fat elsewhere in the body. Also, women who have had breast cancer can decrease their risk of recurrence by keeping their weight in a normal range.
3) If you have children, breastfeed them
Besides providing multiple benefits for the baby (including increased intelligence), breastfeeding decreases the risk of breast cancer, especially for women who breastfeed their baby for their first year.
4) Avoid unnecessary radiation exposure
If you undergo a computerized tomogram, you are receiving a significant dose of radiation. Especially women under age 30 should be cautious about undergoing too many tomograms. If your doctor asks you to have a CT scan, especially if you have had one in the past, ask him if this test is really necessary, or if some other type of test could be done that doesn’t expose you to that dose of radiation.
5) Avoid night-shift work and excessive light exposure during the night
Night-shift work disturbs the normal circadian rhythm, and women who work nights have up to a 30% higher risk of breast cancer. The reason for this is not certain, but may be related to changes in melatonin levels. Even being exposed to unnecessary amounts of light in your bedroom at night may be harmful. Particularly if you have a family history of breast cancer (which places you at higher risk), try to avoid night work and unnecessary nighttime light exposure.
In our next post we will list five more actions. During October we will be posting on our Facebook fanpage about some foods that might help cut your risk. While there is no proof that dietary measures can prevent breast cancer, there is strong evidence that these measures can help… (If you “like” our fanpage, you will be more likely to know when these Facebook hints are posted.)
Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)