Learn how to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

According to the National Cancer Center, over 230,000 women will develop breast cancer. An estimated nearly 40,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2013. In the face of these sobering statistics, discover the top three ways you can lower your risk of breast cancer.

1. Screen for breast cancer regularly
While this won’t prevent you from developing cancer, it can help you catch cancer while it is still in a more treatable state. Perform a self-exam on your breasts regularly. If you’re not sure if you’re doing it right, ask your doctor to guide you through an exam during your next well visit. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting mammograms in addition to having a clinical breast exam during annual visits. If your genetic risk is high or you’ve had breast cancer before, your doctor may also want you to have an MRI to screen for breast cancer.

2. Limit your risk factors
While many risk factors of breast cancer are unavoidable, such as race, age and family history, there are factors you can control. According to WomensHealth.gov, the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer. Limit alcohol use. If you’re of childbearing age, consider breastfeeding. This can lower your risk.

3. Keep your body healthy
Obesity and limited physical activity can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Exercise regularly and talk to your doctor about healthy ways to lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Focus on ways to lose weight that are gradual and sustainable. Consider working with your friends to establish fun ways to work out that you’re more likely to stick with throughout your life.

You have the power to take control of your health. Learn more about breast cancer from North Hills Hospital's online health library. If you would like to find a doctor to speak with about your risk factors, please call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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