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Five Ways to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute lists five simple ways to reduce risk of getting the disease.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute recently released a list of "Five Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk" for breast cancer awareness month.

The list, which features commentary from Erica Mayer, MD, M.P.H., a breast cancer expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, gives women five simple ways to reduce their risk of getting the disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. This year, nearly 40,000 women in the United States will die from the disease.

  1. Get a mammogram: It’s recommended women get a mammogram starting at age 40, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “Mammography screening does not prevent or cure breast cancer, but it may detect the disease before symptoms occur,” Mayer said.
  2. Eat a healthy diet and keep your weight under control: “High-fat diets can lead to being overweight or obese, which is a risk factor for breast cancer,” Mayer said in the article. The American Cancer Society says that getting to and staying at a healthy weight are both incredibly important.
  3. Exercise: According to the American Cancer Society, getting "regular physical activity" can significantly reduce the risk for breast cancer. “Women who exercise regularly appear to be less likely to develop breast cancer. Cancer survivors who are active may have less risk of cancer recurrence compared to those who are more sedentary,” Mayer said.
  4. Limit Alcohol: According to the American Cancer Society, women should "cut back to not more than one alcoholic drink per day, if you drink at all."
  5. Determine if you have family history of breast cancer: One of the main questions on the American Cancer Society's breast cancer prevention checklist is "Has anyone in your family had breast cancer (especially mother, sister, or daughter)?" According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 20 to 30 percent of people who develop breast cancer have a family history of the disease.

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