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5 habits that help fight breast cancer

Published On: Jun 01 2012 03:58:39 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 05 2012 08:48:49 AM CDT
Pink Breast Cancer Bracelets

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From PureMatters.com

Worry about getting breast cancer? Turn anxiety into action. Some risk factors for breast cancer -- such as the age you started menstruating -- can't be changed, but these key habits help reduce your cancer risk, no matter when you start.

Keep moving. Exercise lowers levels of estrogen, which is linked to breast cancer. It's best to get 45 to 60 minutes of heart-thumping activity most days of the week, but moderate levels (30 minutes, 5 days a week) can make a difference. And you're never too old to start and get the benefits: A study in the British Medical Journal showed that postmenopausal women (along with those with a normal body mass index) get more of a benefit from regular sweat sessions than other women.

Get -- and stay -- slim. After menopause, obese women have double the risk of breast cancer compared with women of a healthy weight. But weight gain among previously trim women also bodes ill. "Gaining even 20 pounds of weight as an adult increases risk," says Heather Spencer Feigelson, PhD, MPH, strategic director of genetic epidemiology at the American Cancer Society.

Take vitamin D. More and more studies demonstrate the cancer-fighting power of vitamin D. According to a report at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, breast cancer patients who were deficient in vitamin D were 94 percent more likely to have their cancer spread than women with adequate D levels. "I advise women to take 800 to 1,000 IU a day," says Andrew Kaunitz, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville.

Pass on another glass of wine. Data from the National Cancer Institute shows that women who have one or two drinks daily increase the risk of the most common kind of breast cancer by 32 percent -- and those who drink more hike their risk by 51 percent. Experts recommend no more than a glass a day.

Keep hormones temporary. Long-term use of hormone therapy can increase breast cancer risk, the Women's Health Initiative demonstrated -- and research shows the heightened risk persists several years after you stop. Take hormones only if menopausal symptoms are unmanageable, and limit time on the therapy to no more than five years. Consider alternatives, such as herbal remedies for hot flashes.

No matter how healthy the choices you make, it's still key to watch for any changes in your breasts and keep in touch with your doctor on a recommended screening schedule.

For more healthy living news and features, visit PureMatters.com -- and don't forget to stop by the Pure Matters Shop for all your vitamin and supplement needs.

Source: Pure Matters http://www.purematters.com/prevention/breast-cancer/five-habits-that-help-fight-breast-cancer