You might be wondering whether you can reduce the risk of a breast cancer diagnosis. If you have concerns about developing the disease, it can help to understand specific breast cancer risk factors. Thus, you can take initiatives such as changing particular habits.
This article will discuss natural and lifestyle risk factors that could lead to breast cancer. It will also offer tips for how to prevent breast cancer based on scientific studies.
Risk factors for breast cancer
Anything that can lead to breast cancer is a risk factor. But, having one or several breast cancer risk factors does not necessarily lead to breast cancer. Some women develop breast cancer in the absence of the factors discussed below.
Some factors linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer include:
- Increasing age: Breast cancer risk may increase with age in some people.
- Personal medical history: You may be at a higher risk if you have breast cancer cells (carcinoma in situ). Individuals with cancerous cells in one breast can be at a higher risk of developing early breast cancer in the other.
- Family history: Having a breast cancer diagnosis in close relatives such as your mother or sister could imply that you are at risk of developing the same disease. Still, some women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.
- Particular inherited genes: Studies indicate that specific gene mutations could increase the risk of developing breast cancer. But, you may not get breast cancer (or any other cancer form) even after inheriting specific mutations.
- Radiation exposure: Being exposed to radiation at a young age could raise the risk of developing breast cancer. However, the risk is low given that doctors follow specific ethical and professional standards to minimize adverse consequences.
- Excessive weight: Too much weight could affect factors such as hormonal balance. The problem could lead to breast cancer in some cases.
- Early puberty: Early periods at an early age could be due to hormonal issues, leading to breast cancer. It is best to visit a doctor to clarify the possible problems. But, early puberty is normal in most cases.
- Late menopause: Beginning menopause late could indicate possible hormonal issues. Thus, it can indicate that you may develop breast cancer.
- Late parenting: Women who give birth at an older age could be exposed to a higher risk of breast cancer. However, it depends on unique case factors such as how the body maintains hormonal balance during and after pregnancy.
- Postmenopausal hormone therapy: Using hormone therapy medications to treat menopause signs could increase the risk of developing breast cancer. The risk is higher when you stop taking the medicines.
Keep a healthy weight
Managing weight can be challenging. Yet, it can help reduce the risk of early breast cancer in specific women groups. Maintaining a healthy weight after menopause, for instance, is a significant first step in reducing the chance of developing breast cancer. Excess fat could lead to hormonal problems such as higher estrogen levels in the body.
Be physically active
Working out helps to maintain the recommended weight. You can protect yourself from specific risks that come with extra weight, including a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Women with breast cancer can recover better by staying physically active. You can reduce your risk of breast cancer recurrence by working out often.
Observe a healthy diet
A healthy diet, like one that is plant-based, can help you to stay healthy and recover well if you have cancer. You can get the following benefits:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Keeping body tissues healthy.
- It can help to reduce the side effects of particular cancer treatments.
- It can boost immunity.
- Good food can reduce fatigue and boost strength.
- You can experience a better quality of life.
Your breast cancer treatment team may include a dietician to guide you on the best foods in specific treatment stages of breast cancer. Consulting your dietician before trying new foods can be helpful.
Limit smoking and alcohol
Smoking can have a modest influence on your chance of developing breast cancer. Cigarettes can contain certain chemicals that promote cancer cell growth, especially along the breathing tract. Studies indicate that smoking can raise the risk of cancer recurrence after successful breast cancer treatment. Quitting smoking can lower your breast cancer risk. It may be helpful to avoid smokeless tobacco too.
Moderating alcohol is key—it is toxic to the body. The risk of getting breast cancer can increase as you consume more alcohol. Alcohol intake influences your breast cancer risk in the following ways:
- It can damage and irritate breast cells. The consequent uncontrolled cell division could lead to the development of cancerous tumors.
- It can increase estrogen in the body. Overexposure to estrogen could raise your breast cancer risk.
- It can lead to uncontrolled weight gain. Extra weight may come along with risks such as developing breast cancer.
- It may reduce digestion effectiveness. Too much unabsorbed folic acid could increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Your doctor can ask you to limit smoking and alcohol if you receive cancer treatment.
Breastfeeding can help
Breastfeeding can be challenging. But, it can bring many benefits to you and your child. You may already know about its general health benefits to your baby. Still, it can lower your breast cancer risk. Studies indicate that breastfeeding for longer than six months could significantly prevent pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer risk.
Hormonal changes during lactation could delay estrogen and periods, thus reducing your breast cancer risk. Exposure to progesterone and estrogen over long periods could increase breast cancer risk. You may also shed some breast cells while breastfeeding, a factor that could lead to the loss of cancer cells. Breastfeeding may reduce the chance of your child gaining extra weight later in life. Observing weight can help to reduce breast cancer risk, as discussed above.
Use birth control pills carefully
Often there are downsides to common medicines. Various birth control pills could bring along adverse effects besides their benefits in family planning. Using specific pills could raise the risk of breast cancer in older women. Studies indicate that the risk disappears immediately after most women stop taking pills.
Your doctor can guide you on how to use specific family planning methods safely. Seeking professional help is best since birth control pills have many benefits, including reducing ovarian cancer in the long term. Parenting can also be easier and more rewarding with a good plan.
Avoid menopausal hormone therapy
Hormone therapy is often used to treat menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes. However, the intervention could raise the risk of getting breast cancer under specific conditions. Your doctor can recommend estrogen hormone therapy under some circumstances.
Hormone therapy is only risky when it leads to hormone imbalance in the body. You can only develop breast cancer when the body’s ability to secrete specific hormones is suppressed. The risk of getting breast cancer due to menopausal hormonal therapy is low since doctors observe adequate precautions.
Using prescription medication
Contrary to common belief, some prescription medications can help lower breast cancer risk. Drugs such as raloxifene and tamoxifen can help to maintain a good hormonal balance. It is best to use medicines as per your doctor’s guidance. But, stopping some medication could lead to breast cancer—in cases where the body cannot secret particular hormones. The US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some medications to help avoid breast cancer. Understanding the side effects of certain medications is critical. Your doctor can help you make the best choice based on your medical history and health status.
Screen regularly for breast cancer
Breast cancer screening (mammograms) can help lower the risk of developing breast cancer. It can help with early identification—it does not prevent cancer. Getting regular mammograms starting at an early age is best.
You can attend a regular screening if you are concerned that you may be exposed to breast cancer. Talking to your doctor is crucial for the best advice on how to avoid and manage specific factors.
Regular self-exams may not be accurate. But, it is best to report any unusual factors you observe on your breasts, such as lumps. Talk to your doctor about unexpected changes in your breasts you may have found checking for breast cancer at home (such as how they look or feel).
About Alternative/Natural Treatment of Breast Cancer
Alternative treatment for breast cancer uses natural solutions to regulate the side effects of traditional medications. Medication treatment for cancer may involve invasive procedures such as surgeries. Your doctor can also recommend specific therapy forms, such as radiation therapy, to minimize the risk of cancer recurrence.
Immunity Therapy Center has a wide array of natural treatments for breast cancer. We will create a personalized breast cancer treatment plan for you to match your health status, the extent of cancer, and your preference. Our dedicated team will explain everything you need to know to make informed decisions for your cancer type.
Schedule a free consultation to learn more about alternative treatment options for breast cancer. Call us for holistic care.
Written By: Dr. Pablo Orozco
Dr. Pablo Orozco is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.
Dr. Orozco has been a treating physician at the Immunity Therapy Center for more than 3 years providing daily on site patient care. He works with patients on a daily basis and guides them through the treatment process. Dr. Orozco’s passion for Alternative Cancer Treatments along with his commitment to patient care is key to insure that our patients have the best experience and results possible.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Breast Cancer- What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk? https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/prevention.htm
- American Cancer Society. How Your Weight May Affect Your Risk of Breast Cancer https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/how-your-weight-affects-your-risk-of-breast-cancer.html
- National Cancer Insitute. For Women with Breast Cancer, Regular Exercise May Improve Survival https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2020/breast-cancer-survival-exercise
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.