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7 Unexpected precautions that may lower breast cancer risk

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. Although there is no surefire way to prevent it, there are some precautions you can take to lower your risk.

Watch the ingredients in your beauty products

When possible, use organic beauty products that contain natural ingredients. Some makeup brands may be contaminated with a heavy metal called cadmium, which has been linked to increasing the risk of breast cancer. Other metals to watch out for are iron, nickel, chromium, zinc and mercury. Parabens, aluminum in deodorant and various other ingredients may be problematic for certain people. Currently there isn’t any definitive evidence that directly links various ingredients to a higher risk of developing breast cancer, but it certainly won’t hurt to avoid these ingredients if you can.

Choose fresh food over packaged foods

BPA (also known as bisphenol A) is a toxic chemical used in food packaging, including the lining of canned food and drinks. Over 300 studies have discovered that even small amounts of BPA can be linked to health problems, including breast cancer. Be wary of BPA alternatives, as they may be just as dangerous to your brain.

Opt for natural household cleaners

Deodorizers, air fresheners and many toilet cleaners and mold and mildew removers may contain dichlorobenzene. Prolonged exposure to this highly toxic chemical — even just inhaling the vapours over time — can poison your skin, liver and nervous system. Choose cleaning products that are natural or that you can find in your pantry, like vinegar or baking soda.

Mothballs are also known to contain toxic dichlorobenzene. Studies orchestrated by the University of Colorado backing up their link to cancer were published in Science Daily in 2006. So if you are still using mothballs to save your favourite knits, then perhaps it’s time to move to natural scents like lavender, sandalwood or cloves to deter moths.

Go forth and reproduce

The Canadian Cancer Society reports that getting pregnant at an early age decreases your chances of developing breast cancer. The more kids you have, the more protection you have. Breastfeeding is said to lower your risk as well.

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Avoid night shift

Night shift is hard on the body in more ways than just wrecking havoc on your sleep patterns. Studies conducted and reported in Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who worked on rotating night shift had an increased risk of developing breast cancer because of low amounts of melatonin in their bodies.

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Embrace natural treatments for menopause

It’s a stage of life you can’t really avoid, but suppressing the symptoms with synthetic hormone replacement therapy does increase your chances of post-menopausal breast cancer. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, you can reduce some of the annoying side effects of menopause by maintaining a regular exercise program, eating a healthy diet and cutting back on caffeine and alcohol.

Choose your career path wisely

Studies conducted by Environmental Health in late 2012 found that women had an increased risk of developing breast cancer if they worked in a job where they had a higher chance of being exposed to carcinogens. The most at-risk careers were found to be positions in the automotive plastics and the food canning industries, especially for women who hadn’t yet reached menopause.

More on women’s health

Breast cancer: Truths and Myths
Top 5 women’s health concerns and how to prevent them
Cancer campaigns: Are they really helping?

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