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October, breast cancer awareness month

How to reduce your breast cancer risk? What can you do to reduce your risk of breast cancer? Some risk factors, such as hereditary factors, cannot be changed. However, there are lifestyle changes you can take to reduce your risk.And of course, regardless of the risk, regular check-ups are a must.

How to reduce risk

·  Restrict alcoholic beverages. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk of breast cancer. Do not drink alcohol or limit it to less than one drink a day as even small amounts increase the risk.

·  Maintain the optimal body weight. Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer, especially if it occurs later in life and after menopause.

·  Be physically active. Healthy adults are advised to have at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, with strength exercises at least twice a week.

·   Do not smoke or use any tobacco product. Evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, especially in premenopausal women.

·  A healthy diet reduces the risk of many diseases, including breast cancer.

·  Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is important for the baby but to mother’s health as well – it has a protective effect against breast cancer.

·  Limit the dose and duration of hormone therapy. Menopausal combination hormone therapy used for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. Use it only in consultation with your doctor, at the lowest dose and for a limited period, with regular breast examinations.
The risk of using hormonal contraceptives is very low and decreases when they are discontinued.

Regular breast examinations

· Breast self-exam is performed once a month, after a period, or, for women who no longer have periods, it may be the first day of the month. If you notice any new changes in your breast such as a lump, change in breast shape or size, sores, nipple discharge or nipple retraction, see your doctor. You should start with regular mammograms no later than at the age of 50 and conduct them at 2 years. Based on your personal and family history, your doctor will determine whether it is necessary to start earlier or add other exams.