Did You Know Lifestyle factors can increase your risk of breast cancer? More women in the world get breast cancer than any other type of cancer. In the U.S., 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their life. Cancers are complicated diseases that come from various causes, and particular lifestyle factors may increase your risk for breast cancer.
Weight and poor diet are among some of those factors. Breast cancer risk grows with extra pounds, especially if wight increases after menopause. Being overweight or obese also increases your risk for the cancer to come back. Not all fats are equal. The fat around your stomach is more dangerous than that on your hips or thighs. It produces the hormone called insulin, and too much of which can stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Vitamin D is another factor. Lower levels may put you at a higher risk for breast cancer. Let’s talk about hormones for a second as well. Progesterone and estrogen HRT taken during menopause in a length of more than five years increases your risk. Birth control pills may also do the same. They release tiny amounts of hormones. When you quit taking them, your risk goes down.
Delayed childbirth factors escalate if your first child is after the age of thirty. This is because your exposed to more estrogen over your lifetime, and estrogen is what fuels most breast cancers to grow.
Alcohol and smoking are huge lifestyle factors. Alcohol increases your levels of estrogen and other hormones associated to breast cancer. Having three drinks a week increases your risk up to 15% and you can tack on an additional 10% per drink for anymore after three. With smoking, your risk is heightened if you started smoking before age seventeen. Even after quitting, your risk can remain high for about twenty years.
Listen to your body and be mindful of how you treat it. Check for lumps and get annual mammograms. If breast cancer runs in your family, you may also want to have your genetics tested for the BRCA gene.