You can help lower your risk of breast cancer in the following ways—
- Get screened for breast cancer regularly.1 By getting the necessary exams, you can increase your chances of finding out early on, if you have breast cancer. For more information about the kinds of tests used to screen for breast cancer, and to learn how you can be screened, see Screening.Screening.
- Control your weight and exercise.2 3 4 5 6 Make healthy choices in the foods you eat and the kinds of drinks you have each day. Stay active. Learn more about keeping a healthy weighthealthy weight and ways to increase your physical activity.physical activity.
- Know your family history of breast cancer.2 3 7 8 9 If you have a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer, ask your doctor what is your risk of getting breast cancer and how you can lower your risk. For more information, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for information about medicines to prevent breast cancer and genetic testing for breast cancer.
- Find out the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy.2 3 5 6 8 Some women use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat the symptoms of menopause. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT and find out if hormone replacement therapy is right for you. To learn more about HRT, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—Menopausal Hormone Use and Cancer: Questions and Answers.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.3 5 6 8 For more information, see the Alcohol Chapter of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 [PDF-322KB].
You can help prevent breast cancer in your community. Get involved in community groups that help friends and neighbors get screened for breast cancer, and reduce their risk by helping them exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
Join your community's Comprehensive Cancer Control program. CDC supports Comprehensive Cancer Control (CCC) programs in all 50 states and many American Indian/Alaska Native tribes and U.S. territories. CCC programs bring together cancer experts, survivors, advocates, and other organizations to plan ways to prevent and control breast and other cancers. For more information, contact your local Comprehensive Cancer Control program.
Increase screening in your community. Giving information to members of your community through newsletters, brochures, and pamphlets is an effective way to increase use of screening services. Research has shown other activities by community groups are effective as well. For more information, see CDC's Guide to Community Preventive Services. For tools, visit Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.
Encourage exercise in your neighborhood. Working with your community to provide better locations for physical activity,physical activity, such as parks and sidewalks, is an effective way to increase activity. For more information, see CDC's Guide to Community Preventive Services. For tools, visit Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.
Help members of your community maintain a healthy weight. Workplace programs to change diet and promote physical activity have been found to be effective. For more information on community efforts to support a healthy weight,healthy weight, visit CDC's Guide to Community Preventive Services. For tools related to diet and physical activity, visit Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.
For more information about breast cancer prevention, visit the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Breast Cancer (PDQ): Prevention and the Community Guide to Preventive Services.
1U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Breast Cancer. Rockville, Maryland: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2009.
2Boyle P and Levin B, editors. World Cancer Report. France: IARC Press: 2008.
3Institute of Medicine. National Research Council. Lifestyle Behaviors Contributing to the Burden of Cancer. In: Curry S, Byers T, and Hewitt M, editors. Fulfilling the Potential of Cancer Prevention and Early Detection. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press: 2003. p. 41–86.
4International Agency for Research on Cancer. Evaluation. In: Vainio H and Bianchini F, editors. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention: Weight Control and Physical Activity. France: IARC Press: 2002. p. 249–250.
5National Cancer Institute. Breast Cancer Prevention PDQ (Health Professional)
6National Cancer Institute. Breast Cancer Prevention PDQ (Patient)
7National Cancer Institute. Breast Cancer Treatment PDQ (Health Professional)
8National Cancer Institute. Breast Cancer Treatment PDQ (Patient)
9U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Chemoprevention of Breast Cancer: Recommendations and Rationale. July 2002. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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