What Are Lifestyle Related Breast Cancer Risk Factors?

Group of women huddleGetting a yearly mammogram is the single most effective tool in the early detection of breast cancer. Mammograms can’t prevent breast cancer, however, there are changes you can make to lower your chances of getting it.

What Are Lifestyle Risks Related to Breast Cancer?

A risk factor simply means anything that can increase your chances of getting a certain condition, including breast cancer. Because you may have some risk factors doesn’t mean you will automatically get breast cancer. There are risk factors that you can and cannot control such as gender, your age, and your family history. However, there are some lifestyle choices that may increase your chance of getting breast cancer. These include:

Alcohol Use

The American Cancer Association recommends that women limit their alcohol intake to one serving per day. Women who drink two to three alcoholic beverages a day have a 20% greater breast cancer risk than women who don’t drink at all.


If you’ve gone through menopause and are overweight or obese, your risk factor for breast cancer increases. Before menopause, your ovaries make most of the estrogen your body requires. After menopause, your ovaries stop making estrogen and your body uses its fatty tissue to produce it. The more fat you carry after menopause, the more estrogen you make, increasing your risk. Being overweight also increases your chances of having high insulin levels, which also increases your cancer risk.

Physical Inactivity

Getting regular exercise is vital to reducing your risk of breast cancer, especially for women past menopause. Exercise has a positive effect on not only regulating body weight, but controlling inflammation, hormones, and energy levels. It is recommended that women get two-and-a-half hours of moderate-level exercise a week, or an hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

What Other Lifestyle Factors Increase My Breast Cancer Risk?

The following factors may slightly increase breast cancer risk:

  • Not having children or having your first child after the age of 30
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Having certain types of breast implants
  • Taking oral contraceptives
  • Using birth control implants, IUDs, skin patches, and other devices that release hormones
  • Hormone therapy after menopause: Doctors now recommend hormone therapy for only small amounts of time during menopause symptoms rather than for long term use

Staying at a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce your chances of getting breast cancer.

Stop by PURE Mammography today for your annual mammogram or contact us for more information.

PURE Mammography is the premier 3D mammography center serving women in Lake Grove, NY, and the surrounding Long Island communities. Located inside Smith Haven Mall, you can stop in for a 3D mammogram after an afternoon of shopping. No appointment is necessary, and we have extended weekday and weekend hours to accommodate your busy schedule. To learn more about our center, call us at 631-652-3424 to schedule an appointment.

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