Lower your breast cancer risk

Lower your breast cancer risk

Sixty-four women a day are diagnosed with breast cancer in Canada. By modifying these factors, you can lower your risk of breast cancer.

This year in Canada, 23,400 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer. That averages about 64 women a day who receive the devastating news. Researchers have studied the possible causes of breast cancer, but a new report recently presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium helps to place environmental risks in perspective.

Researchers presented evidence to show that if you modify these factors, you can lower your risk of breast cancer.

Things to avoid

  • smoking
  • excess weight (especially if you’re postmenopausal)
  • unnecessary medical tests, such as CT scans (due to exposure to ionizing radiation)
  • combination (estrogen-progesterone) hormone replacement therapy

Possible risk factors
Researchers warn of a possible increased risk of breast cancer from these chemicals found in car exhaust, gasoline fumes, cigarette smoke, and in some workplace environments.

  • benzene
  • 1.3-butadiene
  • ethylene oxide

The jury’s still out on

  • bisphenol A (BPA)
  • pesticides
  • cosmetics
  • overnight shift work

Animal studies have shown that BPA could be a risk factor, but more research is needed to establish a link between it and breast cancer in humans.

Little impact
There’s good evidence that these factors have little or no impact on breast cancer risk.

  • hair dyes
  • cellphones and electronics

Ways to minimize risk

  • eat healthy, whole foods
  • exercise regularly
  • lower your alcohol intake

Other research avenues include understanding the way breast cancer develops over a woman’s lifetime, the effect of combined risk exposures, and occupational risk factors.

Further research could also help quantify the degree of risk each factor carries with it.

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