October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a good time to remember that some risk factors are beyond our control, like age, race, and family history.
But, as the National Breast Cancer Foundation points out, we can adjust some behaviors to lower other risk factors.
- Lack of Physical Activity: A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity can increase your risk for breast cancer.
- Poor Diet: A diet high in saturated fat and lacking fruits and vegetables can, too.
- Being Overweight or Obese: So can being overweight or obese. Your risk is increased if you have already gone through menopause.
- Drinking Alcohol. Frequent consumption can increase risk; the more you drink, the greater the risk.
The foundation says about two-thirds of people with breast cancer have no connection to these risk factors at all, and other people with risk factors will never develop cancer.
One in eight women will get the disease at some point. Men can get it, too, but it occurs 100 times more often in women.
The group also lists ways that individuals can help and can raise awareness. For example, donating $150 pays for a mammogram for a woman in need. You can learn ways to help your company get involved. And you can support early detection and get tested regularly yourself.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.