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Breast Cancer Awareness: How can I reduce my risk of breast cancer?

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With a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer, prevention should be on the minds of every woman. Some risk factors, such as family history, can’t be helped, but there are lifestyle changes you can make to help lower your risk of a diagnosis.

Stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Try to get between 75 – 150 minutes of exercise weekly. Women who are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise also helps to keep you weight in check, and has numerous other health benefits, such as lowered risk for heart disease and diminished stress levels.

Aim for a well-rounded diet. Limit red meat intake and try to consumer 2½ cups fruits and veggies each day. Moderate drinking (a drink a day or less) is alright, but even low levels of alcohol intake can increase your risk for breast cancer. Don’t smoke – it not increases your risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke, it makes your breath smell and causes premature wrinkles.

Ask your doctor about birth control pills and post-menopausal hormones. Birth control pills increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer while she’s taking them, although the risk goes away after stopping the pill. The risks increase as women age, and if you’re over 35, ask your doctor if you should continue taking birth control. Hormones have shown to have a mixed effect on health, increasing the risk of some diseases, while lowering the risk of others. If you need to take a post-menopausal hormone, it should be for the shortest time possible. Hormones shouldn’t be taken long-term to prevent chronic diseases.

Breastfeed, if you’re having children. One year of breastfeeding (combined for all children) can lower your risk of breast cancer.

Finally, get regular mammograms. The recommendations vary by organizations, but usually begin between the ages of 40-50, either yearly or every other year. Early detection is key in fighting breast cancer.

Sinclair Broadcasting is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we’re introducing Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness and prevention. Here’s a look at what causes are coming up:

January Shape Up U.S. Month

February American Heart Month

March National Nutrition Month

April National Autism Awareness Month

May National Asthma/Allergy Awareness Month

June Men’s Health Education and Awareness Month

July UV Awareness Month

August National Immunization Awareness Month

September Healthy Aging Month

October Breast Cancer Awareness

November American Diabetes Month

December Safe Driving Month

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