Simply being a woman puts us all at risk for breast cancer. Other factors beyond our control, such as race and a family history, can also affect your odds of developing the disease. You can’t change those things, but adopting these healthy habits may help slash your risk.
• MOVE IT MORE OFTEN Besides making you look hot in your Hudson jeans, regular exercise may cut your risk of early breast cancer, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study found that girls and young women who exercised regularly between the ages of 12 and 35 had a substantially lower risk of breast cancer before menopause compared to those who are less active.
• KEEP YOUR FIGURE Women who gain weight throughout adulthood, rather than maintaining a stable weight, have an increased risk for breast cancer, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. One theory is that estrogens, which fuel some breast cancers, may accumulate in fat tissue.
• NIX THE NICOTINE A recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests the female breast tissue is more sensitive to the carcinogens in tobacco during adolescence and early adulthood. Also, smoking is more likely to boost breast-cancer risk in young women who have not yet had children.
• CUT BACK FAT Too much of it in your diet—even good fat, such as monounsaturates—increases breast-cancer risk. Women who doubled fat intake from 20 to 40 percent faced a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer, according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
• MIND THE MOJITOS A recent study conducted by a University of Chicago medical student for the National Cancer Institute linked alcohol consumption to an increased risk of breast cancer. Researchers found that women who had 1–2 small drinks daily were 32 percent more likely to develop a hormone-sensitive tumour, and three or more drinks daily raised the risk by 51 percent.