Here are a few helpful lifestyle tips from "Think Pink, Live Green," a booklet published by Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, PA in conjunction with Breastcancer.org that will reduce the risk of developing breast cancer:
- Avoid taking extra hormones: It's best to avoid exposing your body to extra hormones, such as estrogen and progestin, which are contained in birth control pills and menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Instead, consider non-hormonal solutions such as an intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception, lubrication for vaginal dryness and meditation and acupuncture for hot flashes. Talk to your doctor if you feel you need hormonal medication to improve or maintain your quality of life.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Keeping to a healthy weight is mandatory for breast cancer risk reduction. Ask your doctor what is considered a healthy weight range for your height and body type. A recalculation is needed during and after pregnancy. If you're within the range, proper diet and exercise can help you maintain it. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor for safe ways to modify your diet and increase your physical activity level. Cutting calories makes the biggest difference.
- Exercise regularly: Try to get at least 3-4 hours of exercise a week, but 5-7 hours is better. Consider working with a certified trainer. Mix it up in order to keep it fun. Something as simple as walking with a friend is a great way to socialize and get the benefits of exercise.
- Limit alcohol use: The risk of breast cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. It's best to reduce consumption to 5 or fewer drinks per week. Less is better. All types of alcohol count: wine, beer and hard liquor. Drinking less will also help you maintain your weight.
- Quit smoking: If you smoke, stop! If you're a non-smoker, limit exposure to second-and-third-hand smoke. Avoid smokers and stay away from areas and clothing that smell of smoke.