One thing we know for sure about cancer is that anyone can get it, and breast cancer is one of the most common cancers. In fact, the National Cancer Institute estimates that more than a quarter million women will be diagnosed in 2019 alone.
While there’s no sure way to prevent breast cancer, you can reduce your risk by forming some healthy habits — and maybe giving up some unhealthy ones.
We asked El Camino Hospital’s breast imaging specialist, Dr. Silaja Yitta, for some breast health tips. Here’s her breast health to-do list, and it’s not surprising that her advice is likely to improve your overall health as well:
6 Tips for Healthy Breasts
- See your doctor regularly. He or she can help you stay healthy overall, which may reduce your risk for all kinds of cancer.
- Stay active. A number of studies have linked regular exercise with a reduced risk of breast cancer and other cancers.
- Don’t smoke. Tobacco use increases your risk for just about any kind of cancer, including breast cancer. Knowing that doesn’t make quitting easy, but your doctor can help. The American Lung Association also offers a free online smoking cessation program, and the American Cancer Society has a quit smoking program.
- Don’t drink heavily. More than 100 studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer associated with increased alcohol use.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity or excess body weight has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, including breast cancer. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help, and the more healthy foods you eat, the less room you’ll have for not-so-healthy ones.
- Get your mammogram. Annual mammograms starting at age 40, according to American College of Radiology guidelines, can help detect tumors before you can see or feel them. And earlier detection and treatment can greatly improve your chances of survival.