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To Your Health: A healthier lifestyle may lower risk of breast cancer
Women can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by skipping the fast food and getting more exercise.
“Lifestyle definitely is a factor in the risk of breast cancer,” said Dr. C. Kent Osborne, director of the Breast Care Center at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital in Houston. “Active women who eat a healthy diet decrease their chances of developing the disease.”
About 12 percent of all newborn females in the United States will develop breast cancer at some time in their lives. Most of the risks associated with breast cancer center on the female hormone estrogen. The greater the exposure to estrogen, the greater the risk of breast cancer.
“Estrogen does a lot of good things, but one of the bad things is that when it’s present in excess, it promotes the development of breast cancer,” Osborne said. “Some of the things associated with higher estrogen levels, such as first menstrual period before age 12 or late menopause, cannot be controlled, but lifestyle changes can be effective.”
A sedentary lifestyle and high-calorie diet lead to weight problems. Women who are overweight have a higher level of estrogen. Exercise is especially important in adolescence and young adulthood, Osborne said, with some studies suggesting it decreases the risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 50 percent.
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