Healthy Lifestyle

Anything that increases or decreases a person’s absolute risk of developing a disease is called a risk factor. A risk factor can be related to lifestyle (such as lack of exercise), genetics (such as family history) or the environment (such as radiation exposure).  There are risk factors we can control and others that we cannot control.

Learn more about risk factors here.
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No matter what your underlying risk of breast cancer is, a healthy lifestyle is always important. Healthy lifestyle choices may help lower your risk of different types of cancer and other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Although not all these factors lower the risk of breast cancer, they are good for overall health.* Everyone should aim to:
  • Be physically active (get regular exercise).
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (Survivors who are overweight or obese should limit high-calorie foods and beverages and increase physical activity to help with weight loss.)
  • Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).
  • Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often.
  • Limit “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats). These are found in foods such as red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.
  • Eat “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.
  • Limit alcohol intake to less than one drink a day for women and fewer than two drinks a day for men.
Adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines [83].  

* Being physically active, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol and to a lesser degree, eating fruits and vegetables may help lower your risk of breast cancer. Other factors are good for your overall health and may help lower the risk of other types of cancer.

Learn more about body weight and breast cancer risk.
Learn more about exercise (physical activity) and breast cancer risk.