There are some things that might be risk factors for breast cancer, but the research is not yet clear about whether there really is a link. They include things like tobacco smoke and working at night.
Diet and vitamins
Many studies have been done looking for a link between certain diets and breast cancer risk, but so far the results have been conflicting. Results of some studies have shown that diet may play a role, while others showed no evidence that diet influences breast cancer risk.
For a long time, studies showed no link between cigarette smoking and breast cancer. But in recent years, more studies have shown that heavy smoking over a long-time is linked to a higher risk for this Disease. In some studies, the risk was higher in certain groups, such as women who started smoking before they had their first child. The 2014 US Surgeon General’s report on smoking concluded that there is “suggestive but not sufficient” evidence that smoking increases the risk of breast cancer.
In human studies, the evidence on secondhand smoke and breast cancer risk is not clear, at least in part because the link between smoking and breast cancer is also not clear. One reason for this might be that tobacco smoke may have different effects on breast cancer risk in smokers compared with those who are just exposed to secondhand smoke.
Dis-proven or controversial breast cancer risk factors
There are many factors that research has shown are not linked to breast cancer. You may see information online or hear about these dis-proven or controversial risk factors, but it is important to learn the facts.
The internet and e-mail rumors have suggested that chemicals in underarm antiperspirants are absorbed through the skin, interfere with lymph circulation, and cause toxins to build up in the breast, eventually leading to breast cancer.
Based on the available evidence (including what we know about how the body works), there is little if any reason to believe that antiperspirants increase the risk of breast cancer.
The internet and e-mail rumors and at least one book have suggested that bras cause breast cancer by obstructing lymph flow. There is no good scientific or clinical basis for this claim, and a recent study of more than 1,500 women found no association between wearing a bra and breast cancer risk.
Several studies have provided very strong data that neither induced abortions nor spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) have an overall effect on the risk of breast cancer.
Several studies have found that breast implants do not increase the risk of breast cancer, although silicone breast implants can cause scar tissue to form in the breast. Implants make breast tissue harder to see on standard mammograms, but additional x-ray pictures called implant displacement views can be used to examine the breast tissue more completely.
Breast implants might be linked to a rare type of lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. This lymphoma has rarely been found in the breast tissue around the implants. So far, though, there are too few cases to know if the risk of this lymphoma is really higher in women with implants.
What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Breast Cancer?
Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence your risk. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history, but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly (at least four hours a week).
- Research shows that lack of nighttime sleep can be a risk factor.
- Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
- Avoid exposure to chemical that can cause Cancer(carcinogens) and chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the body.
- Limit exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans if not medically necessary.
- 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 any children you may have, if possible.
If you have a family history of this disease or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may be at high risk for getting cancer. Talk to your doctor about more ways to lower your risk.
Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.
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