It’s October, meaning it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month – it’s the month where people gather to raise funds for breast cancer research as well as show their love and support to loved ones and everyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Every year, hundreds of thousands are diagnosed with breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 252,710 new cases were diagnosed in women. The organization also estimated that about 40,610 women died from it.
However, there are 20 expert-approved habits that can help reduce the risk year round. Scroll below to see each and every one of them.
1. Eat fruits and veggies
Eating more than 5.5 servings of fruits and veggies each day may lower the risk of breast cancer for 11 percent. According to a study in the International Journal of Cancer, this reduction is especially pronounced when it comes to more aggressive breast tumors. A serving contains one cup of raw leafy vegetables, half a cup of chopped or cooked fruits, or half a cup of raw or cooked vegetables.
2. Eat lots of broccoli
When it comes to breast cancer risk, broccoli is the best. According to Gary H. Goldman, MD, a gynecologist and interactive women’s health specialist in New York City, “DIM (diindolylmethane), derived from broccoli, is a potent anti-breast cancer supplement.”
3. Go into the greenery
Women who live near parks or green spaces have a lower risk of breast cancer. study author ISGlobal researcher Cristina O’Callaghan-Gordo, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, says:
“We found a reduced risk of breast cancer among women living …closer to urban green spaces. By contrast, women living closer to agricultural areas had a risk higher.”
4. If something doesn’t feel right, check in with your doctor
According to Therese Bevers, warning signs of breast cancer can include ‘a new lump or mass, dimpling of the breast or nipple, swelling or redness, scaliness or an ulcer on the nipple, spontaneous discharge, and a lump in the underarm’. Although many of these changes may not be cancer, it’s essential to have them checked, she says.
5. Do a yearly mammogram
Starting at the age of 40, women who are at average risk for breast cancer should get an annual mammogram. Sarah P. Cate, MD, assistant professor of Surgery at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says:
“Mammograms have been shown to decrease the stage at diagnosis of breast cancer.”
6. Don’t eat/drink ‘ultra-processed’ foods
It’s good if you skip sodas, instant noodles, packaged snacks, according to a study in BMJ.
7. Smart Curve technology
Solis Mammography’s Smart Curve technology is designed for the female breasts and it can help in making screens more comfortable or accurate.
8. Use olive oil
Olive oil has many benefits, and according to a Spanish study, it may even help in reducing breast cancer risk. So cooking with it may turn out to be beneficial.
9. Drink coffee
Coffee drinkers had a lower chance of breast cancer, however, when the researchers checked for other factors such as age at menopause, exercise, or family history, the effect of coffee was only measurable when it came to estrogen receptor-negative breast cancers.
10. Eat apples
Apples have cancer-fighting compounds known as triterpenoids and phytochemicals. So, never say no to apples!
11. Consume nuts
According to a study from the Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, when mice with human breast cancer ate the human equivalent of two servings of walnuts every day, they reduced their cancer’s growth rate by 80%.
12. Know your breast density
It’s important to know your breast density since breast density is linked to a greater risk for breast cancer. And according to a study of more than 100,000 women and about 300,000 screening exams, women with dense breasts showed higher rates of additional rescreening and biopsies.
13. Vitamin D
According to a new study, high blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Women who had higher vitamin D blood levels, 60 ng/mL or more, had an 80 percent lower risk of breast cancer in comparison to those with the lowest levels, 20 ng/mL or less.
14. Careful with flights
A study out of Harvard’s School of Public Health in Boston has concluded that flight attendants may have a greater than average risk for breast cancer. In comparison to the U.S population, female flight attendants had a 51% higher risk of breast cancer. Some experts say it’s due to the exposure to cosmic ionizing radiation, and some say that irregular sleeping schedules might also be a factor.
15. Check for lumps
You might be more likely to develop breast cancer if you have lumps, nipple retraction, or nipple discharge. When compared to women with no symptoms, those who had a lump had more than triple the risk for breast cancer diagnosis before their next scheduled screening. Those who had nipple discharge had twice the chances, and those with nipple retraction, 1.5 times the odds.
16. Add parsley on your pasta
Parsley has a plant compound called apigenin. In a study of rats with breast cancer who were exposed to apigenin, they developed fewer tumors and had delays in tumor formation.
17. High-fiber foods
During adulthood, for each additional 10 grams of fiber intake daily, the breast cancer risk drops by 13%. Those women who, during young-adult years, eat more high-fiber foods lower their breast cancer risk by 16%, and the risk of breast cancer before menopause by 24%.
18. Baby aspirin
Taking low-dose aspirin at least three times a week may lower the risk of breast cancer by 16%, it may also reduce the risk of HER2-negative breast cancer by 20%.
19. Reduce the drinks
According to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, women who drink 14 or more drinks weekly are about 35% more likely to develop breast cancer in comparison to women who have less than five drinks weekly.
20. Reduce carbon footprint
A study published in the 2010 Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that air pollution may contribute to breast cancer among the many other health problems it may cause.
You might also be interested in: How Often Should You Self-Examine Your Breasts For Breast Cancer And What To Look Out For.