Three Things You Can Do Today to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

You don’t have to feel helpless when it comes to breast cancer.

Dr. Carolyn Rutter, a radiation oncologist with Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute, recommends three steps for reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. They’re steps everyone should consider.

“The thing that puts us at the greatest risk for having breast cancer is simply having breasts, so this should be on every woman’s mind,” she said.

INCREASE ACTIVITY: Regular exercise is important for many aspects of health, including reducing cancer risks. Aim for at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate exercise such as walking, gardening, and housework, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week such as three 25-minute workout sessions or jogging.

“Every bit counts,” Dr. Rutter said. “Set your goals high, but do what you can and pat yourself on the back.”

REDUCE ALCOHOL USE: Avoiding alcohol makes the biggest impact, however most experts recommend moderation. Light to moderate drinking doesn’t significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. Moderation means one drink every other or every day at most.

DON’T SMOKE: Don’t start smoking and quit if you do smoke. The sooner you quit and the longer you go without tobacco, the lower your risk.

“It’s not too late,” she said. “You can do it, and it makes an important difference.”