Preventing Breast Cancer

While hereditary breast cancer is beyond our control, lifestyle adjustments offer a proactive approach. Understand what you can do, according to scientific evidence, to mitigate your risk of developing breast cancer.

By URLife Team
01 Mar 2024

Breast cancer. Just hearing these words can evoke worry and fear in most, and it's entirely natural. Nearly everyone knows someone touched by the disease and the horrid impact it has on the affected individual’s life. By the end of 2020, according to WHO, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer. However, there's a wealth of positive developments in breast cancer today. Advancements in treatment processes continue, and our understanding of preventive measures has never been more comprehensive.


Research shows that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary and result directly from gene changes passed on from a parent. While an individual can be diagnosed with breast cancer without possessing any risk factors; specific lifestyle modifications can possibly mitigate the chances of contracting breast cancer.


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7 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Incorporate 4 Minutes of Vigorous Exercise

According to a 2023 study published by the journal JAMA Oncology, three to four minutes of vigorous exercise a day such as climbing stairs or walking fast seems to reduce cancer risk. The study included 22,398 people and results of the study showed that 3.4 to 3.6 minutes of vigorous exercise a day was associated with a 17 per cent to 18 per cent reduction in cancer risk.


Limit Hormone Therapy Post-Menopause

A 2019 study published in the medical journal The Lancet concluded that individuals who went through or are undergoing menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) were at an increased risk of breast cancer. According to the study, out of 100 000 postmenopausal women who developed breast cancer, half of these women had used MHT, most starting around the time of the menopause at ages 40–59 years.


Consider restricting hormone therapy postmenopausal, particularly combination therapy involving estrogen and progestin, as it may heighten the risk of breast cancer. Have a honest conversation with your doctor about the pros and cons of hormone therapy and if there is any other alternative in store for you. Explore alternative treatments and medications devoid of hormones for symptom management. If opting for short-term hormone therapy, use the minimal effective dosage. Regularly monitor the duration of hormone use with your healthcare team.


Related Post: How To Do A Breast Self-Exam


Avoid Consuming Alcohol

According to a 2023 study published by the National Cancer Institute, consuming alcohol is a prominent risk factor for breast cancer. Women who have 1 alcoholic drink a day have a small (about 7 per cent  to 10 per cent) increase in risk compared with those who don't drink, while women who have 2 to 3 drinks a day have about a 20 per cent higher risk.


While indulging in a night of drinks definitely sounds enticing, the risks might convince you to err on the side of caution.  To reduce the likelihood of developing breast cancer, it is advisable to steer clear of alcohol consumption. Numerous studies have consistently linked alcohol intake to an increased risk of breast cancer, making it a crucial factor to address in preventive measures.


Keep Your Weight in Check

According to American Cancer Society, being overweight or obese during the postmenopausal period heightens the risk of breast cancer. Pre-menopause, ovaries predominantly produce estrogen, with fat tissue contributing a small portion. After menopause, when estrogen production declines, fat tissue becomes the primary source, potentially elevating estrogen levels and the likelihood of breast cancer. Additionally, overweight women often exhibit elevated insulin levels, which have been associated with various cancers, including breast cancer.


Related Post: 5 Habits That May Increase Cancer Risk


Reconsider Birth Control

The use of oral contraceptives, also known as birth control pills, has been associated with a slightly high risk of breast cancer compared to women who have never used them. Research suggests that this increased risk is relatively modest, and the absolute risk remains low.


Also, interestingly, as per American Cancer Society once women discontinue the use of oral contraceptives, the heightened risk of breast cancer tends to revert to a baseline level within approximately 10 years.


Consider Reproductive History 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who have not had children or who had their children after the age of 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk. Research shows that having many pregnancies and becoming pregnant at a young age reduces breast cancer risk.


Another study by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer, researchers found that for every 12 months a woman breastfed, her risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.3 per cent. A possible explanation for this phenomenon is that breastfeeding induces hormonal shifts and this delays their menstrual periods for many women. This, in turn, decreases their lifetime exposure to estrogen and other hormones that may stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.


Related Post: What You Should Know About Cervical Cancer Screening—Pap Smear and HPV Test


Opt for Thorough Examination

According to the American Cancer Society Center for Cancer Screening, compared to women who had no screening mammograms, women who had all their scheduled mammograms had a 66 per lower risk of dying from breast cancer.


Also, there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding when to start getting mammograms. There are different recommendations and guidelines. However, as per the study published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, breast camouflage screening programs that included women ages 40 to 49 years led to better survival for those who were diagnosed with the disease.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have breast cancer. Taking regular health checks can help detect the condition at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.

With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life’s Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications and advice to you.



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