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Breast cancer: Everyday things that raise your risk

Linda Melone, CSCS, is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and certified personal trainer based in Orange County, CA. Visit her website at www.LindaMelone.com.

Everyday risk factors

Do you make healthy lifestyle choices that protect you from breast cancer, or do your choices put you at a greater risk? You may be surprised to find out these everyday things can increase your odds of developing breast cancer.

Couch potato woman

Your daily habits can definitely raise your risks of breast cancer, says Dr Rachel Bregman, a women's health expert and clinical faculty member at New York Presbyterian hospital. "Everyday cancer risks mostly involve lifestyle choices and include a number of different factors." However, even simple changes can help you reverse your risk.

Avoid these everyday breast cancer risks to stay healthy

1Being overweight or obese

If you weigh more than you should for your age and height, you're at a higher risk of breast cancer. This link appears to be stronger after menopause, which experts believe may be due to changes in estrogen levels.

2Excess alcohol

Your daily glass of wine may put you at a higher risk of breast cancer, studies show. While a link exists between breast cancer and alcohol consumption, the strength of this link requires further study. Any type of alcohol seems to increase the risk of breast cancer, so limit yourself to one drink a day or abstain completely.

3Leading a sedentary lifestyle

Living a couch-potato lifestyle can contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer by adding excess weight as you age. When you combine regular exercise with a healthy diet you can lose excess weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. If you haven't exercised in a while, start slow and work up to a minimum of 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Include resistance training as well as cardiovascular workouts.

4High-fat diet

Frequent stops through the drive-through may raise your breast cancer risk as well. Studies show a weak to moderate link between invasive breast cancer and dietary fat intake, but reducing the fat in your diet also helps you in other health-related ways. Cutting back on fat reduces your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Maintaining a low-fat diet can also help control your weight. Limit fat to no more than 30 to 35 percent of total calories and restrict saturated (animal) fats.

5Not eating organic

Some pesticides resemble estrogen in their molecular structure, making them able to attach to estrogen receptor sites in your body. Studies have not yet shown a definite link between pesticides and breast cancer, but researchers see elevated levels of pesticides in the breast tissue of women linked with a greater risk of breast cancer. Choose organic whenever possible.

6Excess use of antibiotics

Underlying factors may be involved, such as a weakened immune system or undiagnosed illnesses, but long-term use of antibiotics appears related to breast cancer. The risk seems to increase the longer the antibiotics were used.

No guarantees exist, but give yourself the best chance possible by maintaining healthy lifestyle habits to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

More ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer

SheKnows.com gives you a few tips on how to reduce your risk of getting the second most common cancer, breast cancer!

More on breast cancer

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