Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What Are Your Odds?

Just how much can women affect their odds of getting breast cancer?  More than they might think, according to a study published in Breast Cancer Research.  While it’s true that having a mother or sister with breast cancer increases a woman’s odds of contracting the disease, even these women can lower their risk.  Research suggests that all women can help avoid breast cancer by doing three things:
1. Exercise at least 20 minutes at a moderate to vigorous rate a minimum of five times a week.  The American Cancer Society encourages 45 - 60 minutes of exercise most days.
2. Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.  Strive for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 25.  To find your BMI, click here.
3. Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day.  One drink is five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, or 12 ounces of beer.  Keep in mind that this is a limit, not a goal.  While one drink a day can help protect the heart, minimizing or abstaining from drinking is correlated with a lower risk of breast cancer.
Taking these steps can lower your risk 15 - 20%.  Although that may not be huge, regular exercise and weight management will improve your health in many ways.  You’ll increase your energy level, raise your self esteem, and help prevent a host of other diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, arthritis, and other forms of cancer.   (Source: UC Berkeley Wellness Letter October 2011)

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