Simple Lifestyle Changes can Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Get active, watch your weight and cut back on alcohol to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
That's the message from National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre on World Cancer Day.
More than 12,600 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year, making it the most common cancer among Australian women.
While some risk factors for breast cancer – such as being a woman, getting older and having a strong family history of the disease – are outside of our control, there are some simple lifestyle changes every woman can make to reduce her risk of developing the disease.
'It has been estimated that one in five cases of breast cancer can be attributed to women being overweight, obese or inactive," said Dr Helen Zorbas, CEO of National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre.
'Studies show that just a couple of hours of exercise per week, such as brisk walking, can reduce breast cancer risk by 18 per cent. And the more exercise you do, the greater the benefits," said Dr Zorbas.
Research has also shown that women who gain weight after menopause (with a body mass index greater than 25) are at 21 to 43 per cent increased risk of breast cancer compared to leaner women.
And though it may not be a popular message, Dr Zorbas reminded women that even moderate alcohol consumption increases breast cancer risk.
'Many women are not aware that every alcoholic drink increases their risk of breast cancer, so it is important to limit your alcohol intake to no more than two standard drinks per day."
Women are encouraged to visit National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre's risk calculator, www.nbocc.org.au/risk, to assess their personal level of risk for breast cancer.
National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre is funded by the Australian Government and works with consumers, health professionals, cancer organisations, researchers and governments to improve care and cancer control in breast and ovarian cancer.