Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, shares a few simple tips to become a healthier you. Statistics show that one in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, making breast cancer one of the leading diseases affecting women in the country. Bone health also becomes increasingly important for women as they age, as many women suffer from bone loss after menopause. Small lifestyle changes and incorporating healthy habits into your routine could improve both your bone and breast health and may help lower your risk of health issues in the future.
“There are some common risk factors for breast cancer and poor bone health: The exercise that we do and the foods we eat impact both of those things,” says Susan G. Komen Scholar Dr. Jennifer Ligibel. Get moving! Living an active lifestyle may reduce your risk of illness and keep you feeling great.
Here are a few ways you can make a difference in your life, starting today:
- Women who incorporate regular physical activity into their routine have a 10 – 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who don’t. Evidence also shows that exercise, especially weight bearing exercise is also incredibly important for maintaining bone health. So, whether you enjoy an intense aerobics class, or a swift power walk, you may lower your risk by staying active.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Women who gain weight in adulthood have an increased risk of breast cancer. Studies show that women who gain 20 pounds after the age of 18 have a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women who gained little to no weight, and the chances increase with additional weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight and increasing muscle on the body with exercises such as dancing, walking, or stair climbing may also increase bone health.
- Limit your alcohol intake: Limiting alcohol consumption can also decrease your risk of breast cancer and other health issues. One study found that women who consumed 2 – 3 alcoholic beverages per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women who do not consume alcohol. Consider limiting your alcohol intake to less than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
- Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption: Studies show women who eat the most vegetables have a lower risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer compared to women wo eat the least vegetables. Consuming foods that have high levels of Vitamin D and calcium may also lower your risk of osteoporosis. Incorporating foods such as spinach, kale, and white beans can help you maintain healthy bones.
- Build your bone density early: Between the ages of 25 and 30, most people reach their peak bone mass. To avoid a severe decline of bone mass over time, it is recommended that you practice proper nutrition and get regular exercise during these crucial years. Taking preventative measures early in life can help cultivate healthy bones and prevent health issues down the line.
- Don’t smoke: Women who smoke for many years may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. Tobacco smoke has nearly 250 harmful chemicals, at least 69 of which have been shown to cause cancer. Whether you have smoked for 10 months or 10 years, there are health benefits to quitting at any time.
- Be aware of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT): Experts recommend limiting hormone use to lower the risk of breast cancer. Women who take estrogen plus progestin to relieve symptoms related to menopause increase their risk of breast cancer. Consult your doctor before starting MHT and discuss the benefits and risks prior to the treatment.
- And finally, when you see your provider for annual exams, ask about your bone health. There are things you can do to promote both breast and bone health and being mindful of both can help detect changes in your body, and support a healthier you.
For more information on how you can increase your breast and bone health, visit https://www.komen.org/breast-and-bone-health/. Sponsored by Amgen.