Breast Cancer

What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?

Breast cancer is not a preventable disease. However, you can help lower your risk of breast cancer in the following ways—

  • Get screenedscreened for breast cancer regularly.
  • Keep a healthy weight.healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularlyExercise regularly (at least four hours a week).
  • Limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
  • If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.
  • Breastfeed your babies, if possible.
  • If you plan to have children after age 30, talk to your doctor about your cancer risk.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may have a higher breast cancer risk. Talk to your doctor about these ways of reducing your risk—

  • Antiestrogens or other medicines that block or decrease estrogen in your body.
  • Surgery to reduce your risk of breast cancer
    • Prophylactic (preventive) mastectomy (removal of breast tissue).
    • Prophylactic (preventive) salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes).

It is important that you know your family history and talk to your doctor about screening and other ways you can lower your risk. For more information about breast cancer prevention, visit Breast Cancer (PDQ): Prevention.

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