To reduce your risk of breast cancer, consider trying to:
- Discuss the benefits and risks of hormone therapy with your doctor. Combination hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy. Some women experience bothersome signs and symptoms during menopause and, for these women, the increased risk of breast cancer may be acceptable in order to relieve menopause signs and symptoms. To reduce the risk of breast cancer, use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to less than one drink a day, if you choose to drink.
- Exercise most days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. If you haven't been active lately, ask your doctor whether it's OK and start slowly.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy strategies to accomplish this. Reduce the number of calories you eat each day and slowly increase the amount of exercise. Aim to lose weight slowly — about 1 or 2 pounds a week.
If you have a family history of breast cancer or feel you may have an increased risk of breast cancer, discuss this with your health care provider. Medications, surgery and more-frequent screening may be options for women with a high risk of breast cancer.
May. 22, 2012
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- Chen WY. Postmenopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk: Current status and unanswered questions. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. 2011;40:509.
- Abeloff MD, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1709/0.html. Accessed April 24, 2012.
- Breast cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed April 24, 2012.
- Biglia N, et al. Increased incidence of lobular breast cancer in women treated with hormone replacement therapy: Implications for diagnosis, surgical and medical treatment. Endocrine-Related Cancer. 2007;14:549.
- Schrader KA, et al. Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer: Association with lobular breast cancer. Familial Cancer. 2008;7:73.
- Breast cancer treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/breast/healthprofessional. Accessed April 24, 2012.
- Breast cancer prevention (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/prevention/breast/healthprofessional. Accessed April 24, 2012.
- Avis NE. Breast cancer survivors and hot flashes: The search for nonhormonal treatments. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2008;26:5008.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 7, 2012.
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