Surprisingly, more women are concerned about their risk of breast cancer than their risk of developing heart disease, although heart disease is the leading killer of older women. Maybe it’s because breast cancer is shrouded in mystery. Unlike heart disease where there’s an abundance of data on how to prevent it, there’s less credible information about reducing breast cancer risk. In spite of this, there are still things you can do to swing the odds in your favor — and potentially lower your risk of getting breast cancer.
1. Get Moving.
Numerous studies show that exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer — and the younger you are when you start, the better. But even if you spent the first forty years as a couch potato, exercising later in life still seems to offer some protection against breast cancer.
How hard do you have to exercise to see the benefits? Most studies suggest that more intense exercise offers greater protection against breast cancer than low-intensity workouts – but even a thirty-minute daily walk reduces the risk to some degree. Exercise may ward off breast cancer by reducing levels of hormones like estrogen and insulin-like growth factor, which stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.
You can also cut your risk of developing cancer by up to 25% if you make it a habit to do moderate exercise daily. If you can’t do high-intensity workouts each day, try brisk walking instead. This moderate exercise helps decrease the levels of estrogen in the body.