Breast cancer. It’s on every woman’s mind, and for good reason. The American Cancer Society reports that breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, excluding skin cancers. In a group of eight women, probability says that one will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. But we hope to protect you by turning worrisome thoughts into positive actions with risk-reducing advice from one of AdventHealth’s leading radiation oncologists, Nevine Hanna, MD, MPH, at AdventHealth Palm Coast.
“Promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors is a critical part of breast cancer prevention,” says Dr. Hanna. “There are a few scientifically proven health behaviors that can, in fact, help cells that protect our bodies from cancer.”
Dr. Hanna shares her tips on how to reduce your breast cancer risk by adopting a few key healthy habits.
1. Get 8 Hours of Sleep at Night.
While you sleep, your body is hard at work, restoring and rebalancing your immune system and hormone levels.
2. Exercise for 150 Minutes per Week.
“Exercise is protective against cancer. It helps our bodies ‘turn off’ genes that initiate or cause cancer and ‘turn on’ protective genes that can help prevent cancer,” explains Hanna.
3. Eat These 4 Foods Regularly.
Having too much fat in the body, and especially belly fat, causes a woman’s body to produce even more estrogen. “It’s important for women to achieve a healthy weight with good nutrition, including a few key foods that studies have shown to have similar cancer-fighting properties as anti-cancer medications.”
Dr. Hanna recommends that women include these foods into their diet to reduce their breast cancer risk:
1. Green tea without sugar (one to two cups per day)
2. Ground flax seeds (one tablespoon per day)
4. Seaweed (which is rich in iodine)
4. Know Your Health Numbers.
Your annual physical provides an opportunity for your doctor to establish baseline information he/she can use for comparison purposes in future physical exams. Because even small changes can indicate potentially serious problems, an annual physical can detect an illness before it begins or during its early stages when treatment can be less invasive.
5. If You Think It’s Different, Get It Checked.
Perform monthly breast self-exams and contact your physician immediately if you feel anything abnormal.
6. Get the Girls Together.
Tap into a support network to stay healthy. “Women are great about supporting each other, so find ways to connect with the fellow women in your life and celebrate healthy practices,” says Hanna.
It’s the help we receive along the way that can make a big and lasting impact to our whole health.
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