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Healthy Habits for Breast Cancer Prevention

Now more than ever, women are taking responsibility for their health and their lives by making smart, healthy lifestyle choices. Not only can these have a profound effect on your overall health, but adopting a healthy lifestyle can also help to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. The best part about integrating these five tips for healthy living into your daily routine is that not only can they be excellent preventive measures, but they can also significantly improve your mood and quality of life. 

1. Get Moving 

One of the most important things you can do for your overall physical condition and your breast health is to stay active. Numerous studies have shown links between increased physical activity and a lowered risk of developing breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute). If you have a sedentary job such as sitting in an office for long periods of time, schedule a few breaks throughout the day during which you can get up and move around or even take a walk.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess body fat can lead to a whole host of health concerns, including putting women at an increased risk for breast cancer. By losing just five percent of your body weight, you may be able to reduce your risk by up to 40 percent (Journal of the National Cancer Institute). When monitoring your weight, it can be useful to keep track of your body mass index (BMI), which should fall between 18.5 and 29.4.

3. Limit Alcohol Consumption

Excess alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on your body and could put you at a greater risk for developing cancer and other serious health problems. While the occasional drink is okay, consuming more than one serving of alcohol per day could pose a serious health risk. Remember that moderation is key, so binge-drinking on the weekends even if you don’t have a sip of alcohol during the week still isn’t healthy. 

4. Don’t Smoke

Smoking is such a large risk factor for so many health problems that it really is beneficial to kick the habit (or don’t start!). Tobacco use has been linked to an increased risk of nearly all types of cancer, including breast cancer, making it a no-brainer to quit (American Cancer Society).

Ditching tobacco will not only significantly decrease your cancer risk, but it can also boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and alleviate chronic sinus congestion.

5. Get Enough Sleep

Research shows that poor sleep habits can also up a woman’s breast cancer risk. Aim for getting six to nine hours of quality sleep each night, which means that your phone screen shouldn’t be shining in your face, your lights should be off, and you should be able to unwind and relax. 

Some studies have even linked a 30 percent increase in the incidence of breast cancer with occasional and frequent night shift work, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a regular sleep schedule and patterns to optimize your health (Journal of the National Cancer Institute).

The Bottom Line

Taking control of your health by making informed, smart lifestyle changes can greatly impact your overall mental and physical health, not to mention decreasing your risk of developing breast cancer and other serious medical conditions. It’s never too late to establish a healthy, active lifestyle and kick bad habits to the curb. 

To become involved in a community effort to promote excellent health for women, consider attending the Women’s Health Conversations 2016 Conference held in Pittsburgh, PA. This conference aims to educate, empower, and entertain smart, savvy women who profoundly influence the health of everyone they touch. If you’d like to become a part of the conversation yourself, take a look at the registration page for more details about how you can contribute to and inspire women’s health initiatives.