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Lifestyle Changes and Breast Health: Tips for Reducing Your Cancer Risk

Published April 15th, 2024 by Great Lakes Medical Imaging

Breast cancer remains a significant health concern for women worldwide, but there's empowering news: lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your risk. 

At Great Lakes Medical Imaging (GLMI), with locations spanning Williamsville, Cheektowaga, Orchard Park, and Niagara in Buffalo, NY, we're committed to not only providing state-of-the-art diagnostic services but also educating our community on preventive health measures. This article offers practical tips for lifestyle changes that can positively impact your breast health and help lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity, especially post-menopause, has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Body fat produces estrogen, a hormone that can fuel the growth of certain cancers. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is crucial. Aim for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, and engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

Stay Physically Active

Exercise is a powerful tool in the fight against cancer. Regular physical activity not only helps control weight but also balances hormone levels and boosts the immune system. Whether it's walking, cycling, swimming, or participating in group fitness classes, find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your daily routine.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Alcohol consumption is directly linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk. It's advisable to limit your intake to no more than one drink per day or, better yet, avoid alcohol altogether.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is a well-known risk factor for many cancers, including breast cancer. If you smoke, seek help to quit. It's never too late to benefit from stopping smoking, with immediate and long-term health improvements.

Eat a Nutritious Diet

While no diet can prevent breast cancer, certain foods can strengthen your body's defenses. Focus on a plant-based diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and flaxseed, are also beneficial.

Breastfeed, If Possible

Breastfeeding has been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer, possibly because it reduces a woman's total number of menstrual cycles (just like starting menstruation later in life or entering menopause at an earlier age). Aim to breastfeed exclusively for up to six months and continue for as long as you and your baby are comfortable.

Limit Dose and Duration of Hormone Therapy

Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you're considering hormone therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms, discuss the pros and cons with your doctor. You might be able to manage your symptoms with non-hormonal treatments and medications.

Avoid Exposure to Radiation and Environmental Pollution

Certain environmental factors, such as radiation exposure from medical imaging tests like CT scans, can increase breast cancer risk. Limit your exposure by having these tests only when absolutely necessary. Additionally, try to reduce your exposure to environmental pollutants linked to cancer.

Regular Screenings and Self-Exams

Early detection through regular mammograms can save lives. Great Lakes Medical Imaging offers comprehensive mammography services across our locations in Williamsville, Cheektowaga, Orchard Park, and Niagara. Alongside clinical screenings, familiarize yourself with your breasts through monthly self-exams and report any changes to your healthcare provider immediately.

Western New York Medical Imaging

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly impact your overall health and reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. At GLMI, we're dedicated to supporting you on your health journey with advanced imaging services and preventative health education. Remember, small changes can lead to significant health benefits over time.

For more information on breast health or to schedule a screening at one of our Buffalo, NY locations, please visit our contact page. Together, we can take proactive steps toward reducing your breast cancer risk and promoting overall wellness.

Disclaimer: This blog article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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