1. Think Preventively. You can do a lot to decrease lifestyle risks, says Therese Bevers, MD, medical director of ther Cancer Prevention Center at MD, . Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“Limit alcohol, exercise regularly, and eat a largely plant-based diet.”
2. Know your risk factors. Although only one-third of women with breast cancer have known risk factors, those are still some of the best predictors we have for the disease. Some of the most important:
A family history of breast cancer
A genetic predisposition such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
Radiation exposure early in life
For more on evaluating your risk, visit the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool at cancer.gov/berisktool.
3. Be alert to changes in your body. Breast self-exam should never substitute for mammography, but it can help you learn what’s normal for you. See prevention.com/breast-self-exam to learn how to perform one properly.
4. Choose a screening schedule after a discussion with your doctor. “Your ob/gyn should talk you through the benefits and limitations of mammograms generally and as they relate to you specifically”, says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale School of Medicine and a Prevention editorial advisory board member who has been practicing medicine for 33 years. You and your doctor should also consider how concerned you are about cancer, false-positives, and finances, she says: “Most likely, she won’t try and talk you into or out of any particular choice, but she’ll want you to decide based on real evidence and information. I personally recommend mammograms every 1 to 2 years starting at age 40, but it’s your decision. Just be sure you’re getting mammograms at least every 2 years after age 50.”
Source: Prevention magazine October 2012