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5 Ways to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Update Date: Oct 11, 2014 12:49 PM EDT

Preventive measures are vital in improving health and reducing risks. Even though preventive measures do not ensure 100 percent safety from diseases, they can dramatically improve life quality. Here are 5 ways to reduce your future risk of breast cancer:

1. Determine your breast density

One way to determine your risk of breast cancer is to find out how dense your breasts are. If you have breasts that are more dense, your risk of cancer can increase by six times. Knowing whether or not you have dense breast could affect how often you check your breast health.

2. Exercise

Exercise can protect the body from several diseases, which is why maintaining good physical activity should be a priority. In terms of breast cancer, a study found that women who gained anywhere from 21 to 30 pounds after turning 18-years-old had a 40 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer in comparison to women who did not gain more than five pounds. Exercise also affects estrogen metabolism, which can lower your risk of breast cancer.

3. Family history

Make sure you know your entire family's history of breast cancer. Breast cancer is about five to 10 percent hereditary. Figuring out whether or not you carry certain genes associated with an increased risk of breast cancer can help you make decisions regarding your breast health. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have been linked to increasing risk of breast and ovarian cancers dramatically.

4. Reduce exposure to radiation

Whenever possible, try to reduce your exposure to radiation from screening tests. Even though mammograms expose the body to radiation, the level of radiation is very low. Since skipping mammograms is not beneficial, avoiding exposure from other tests, such as x-rays could help. However, instead of forgoing x-rays completely, take the extra time to consult experts to make sure that the x-rays could provide more pros than cons.

5. Limit hormone therapy

Hormone therapy increases risk of breast cancer by 24 percent. Unless hormone therapy is completely necessary, consult your doctor about other options that can manage your menopausal symptoms.

These are just five ways to protect breast health. If you are concerned about your risks, consult your doctor for additional advice on how you can prevent cancer.

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