8 Habits to Adopt Now for Optimal Breast Health, According to MDs

Your breast health matters every day, and there’s no better time to rethink your habits for optimal breast health than October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer ranks as the second leading killer of women, and it’s the most common cancer in women, with one in eight women being diagnosed with it in her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

© Provided by Real Simple Getty Images

Yet what you may not know is that you have more control over your breast cancer risk than you think, even if you have a family history of it. “Only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers can be blamed on inherited gene mutations such as BRCA, and merely 13 percent of women with breast cancer have a first-degree relative with a history of the disease,” says Kristi Funk, MD, breast cancer surgeon, medical director of the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills, Calif., and author of BREASTS: The Owner’s Manual. “While genetic predisposition is significant when present, it’s empowering to realize that the majority of all breast cancer cases are under our control, in the choices we make every single day.”

© Getty Images You’re more in control of your breast health than you think. Here’s how to keep them healthy.

In fact, about 75 to 80 percent of what happens to your breasts is under your control, says Heather Richardson, MD, breast health specialist at the Bedford Breast Center in Beverly Hills, Calif. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee something won’t happen. “Some women can do everything right and still get breast cancer, namely because everybody has a cancer cell somewhere and it may happen that your immune system’s policing doesn’t get it,” she says. That said, prevention can go a long way.

Although the median age for a breast cancer diagnosis in the United is 62, you’re never too young—or old—to embrace healthy breast habits. “The same habits that promote breast health are the ones that stave off all other major killers, including heart attacks, other cancers, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and obesity—and even disease states that don’t necessarily kill but can make you miserable like autoimmune disorders, joint pain, and depression,” Dr. Funk says.

So what habits should you adopt now for healthier breasts? Below are eight to keep in your toolbox.

RELATED: The Standard Breast Cancer Screening Exams Every Woman Should Know About

Examine your breasts.

As soon as you start menstruating, you should be doing monthly self-exams on your breasts to recognize lumps and bumps and spot changes in the future more quickly, Dr. Funk says. Learn how to do an exam via her how-to video.

Keep up with mammograms.

Along with self-exams, get yearly mammograms starting at age 40. “This is a general guideline, as your doctor may want to tweak something,” Dr. Richardson says. For instance, if you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor might recommend you start mammography earlier. One other point? You need to know if you have dense breasts, something a mammogram will reveal. If so, you’ll need additional screening to help see more clearly through that dense tissue.

Eat plant-strong.

Every time you eat, you move yourself closer to—or further from—cancer, and there’s no denying that a plant-based diet is best for the breasts. “Plants, legumes, and 100 percent whole grains provide nutritional armor for cancer risks,” Dr. Funk says. On the flip side, animal products can increase cancer risk, namely by elevating estrogen, which fuels 80 percent of all breast cancers. Yet by eating plants, you’ll consume high amounts of antioxidant-rich foods that release molecules that can scavenge free radicals, eliminate carcinogens that you eat and encounter, prevent and repair DNA damage, identify and destroy harmful cells in the body, inhibit new blood supply required by tumors to grow, stimulate the immune system, regulate hormone metabolism, and reduce inflammation, she adds. And while it’s ideal that you eat plants 100 percent of the time, every time you swap plants for animals, your health will benefit.

Nosh on these three, cancer-fighting foods daily.

Although the plant kingdom is loaded with good-for-breasts food, broccoli, soy, and ground flax should be in your daily lineup, Dr. Funk says. Eat a half cup of raw or steamed broccoli for its cancer-reducing isothiocyanates. Steam it or eat it raw, but chew broccoli thoroughly to break down the cell walls and let the molecules mix, creating sulforaphane, which Dr. Funk says “displays ridiculous talent when it comes to seeking out and destroying breast cancer cells.” Then get two to three servings of soy a day, as it decreases the occurrence, recurrence, and death rates from breast cancer. Finally, eat 1 tablespoon of ground flax, which contains powerful cancer-fighting phytonutrients called lignans.

Limit alcohol.

Don’t be duped into thinking alcohol is “safe,” as a study from the journal Lancet concluded there is no safe level. “Alcohol weakens your immune system, increases estrogen levels, and interferes with your body’s ability to convert folate into its DNA-protective form, methylfolate, all of which contributes to alcohol being a risk factor for breast cancer,” Dr. Funk says, adding that you should consider supplementing with methylfolate. If you do drink, the American Cancer Society advises no more than one drink a day for women, two for men. She even takes it a step further and says that among the types of alcohol, only red wine might have redeeming qualities, namely because resveratrol from the skin of red grapes inhibits the formation of cancer. What’s more, “red wine behaves like an aromatase inhibitor, a drug given to estrogen-positive breast cancer patients to stop the conversion of your body’s steroids into estrogen,” she says.

RELATED: Here’s How to Drink Less Alcohol—But Enjoy It Even More

Move more.

Active women have a 20 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than inactive women, Dr. Richardson says. On the flip side, being sedentary increases breast cancer risk by as much as 40 percent versus those who move at moderate levels for three to four hours a week, Dr. Funk adds. But don’t think you have to spend loads of time exercising. Even walking briskly for just 11 minutes a day can drop breast cancer incidence by 18 percent, she says. Not into sweat? No problem. “Simply strive to move more throughout the day with the goal of five hours a week,” Funk says. For instance, take a walk at lunch, use a desk treadmill while you work, or do jumping jacks during commercial breaks.

RELATED: Why 10,000 Steps? Here’s Where This Daily Fitness Goal Comes From—and Whether It’s Worth Following  

Maintain a healthy weight.

Excess weight has numerous health consequences, including an increased breast cancer risk. “Overweight and obese adult women have a 50 to 250 percent greater risk for postmenopausal breast cancer than normal weight women,” Dr. Funk says. Plus, up to 50 percent of postmenopausal breast cancer deaths can be attributed to obesity.

Know the red flags.

If you see anything unusual in your breasts, talk with your doctor. “No one will think you’re paranoid, and most times we discover noncancerous reasons behind the signs,” Dr. Funk says. Signs of something off kilter include a new lump, swelling in the breast, skin dimpling (like an orange peel), nipple discharge (that’s not milk), swollen lymph nodes, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction (turning inward), and nipple or breast skin that’s flaking, dry, red, or thickened.

RELATED: 12 Health Stats You Absolutely Should Know About Yourself

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Uttarakhand, Kerala floods: Dozens killed after record rainfall in India

Record-breaking rains and heavy flooding have killed at least 73 people in India this week, according to disaster management officials. © National Disaster Response Force/AP India’s National Disaster Response Force ... Read more »

Help Yashwanth beat cancer. His parents can't afford treatment of Rs 20 lakh

© Provided by The Indian Express Ten-year-old Yashwant was like any other child, enjoying going to school and playing. But, after a persistent fever, he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, ... Read more »

Jerry Flannery sings Alex Dombrandt's praises

Harlequins and England number eight Alex Dombrandt has received special praise from his club coach Jerry Flannery, who described him as “probably the most skilful forward” he has coached. © ... Read more »

Reports make for worrying Liverpool reading as megastar's exit draws closer

A Liverpool megastar is being lined-up as a potential world-class replacement by a European giant, a report has claimed. © PA Images Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Joel Matip and Jordan ... Read more »

Antoine Griezmann receives his first Champions League red card

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Antoine Griezmann went from Atletico Madrid hero to zero after receiving a straight red card against Liverpool for a high foot on Roberto ... Read more »

Questions around consent arise as 12 to 17 age group now eligible for COVID jab

© AFP In this file photo taken on 30 December 2020, vials of undiluted Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to administer to staff and residents at the Goodwin House Bailey’s ... Read more »

Coldplay Unleash the Energy for Late-Night Performance of ‘My Universe': Watch

Coldplay Coldplay are locked into their week-long residency on The Late Late Show with James Corden, as part of the celebrations around their new album Music of the Spheres. On ... Read more »

Palestine underground: A new face for local radio

Hunched down in front of a DJ console, Yousef Anastas assiduously manages the decks, preparing the mix and adjusting the atmospherics of the ambient track he is playing. It is ... Read more »

GAME RECAP: Oilers 6, Ducks 5.

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers (2-0-0) welcomed Trevor Zegras and the Anaheim Ducks to Rogers Place on Wednesday, trying to stay undefeated on the young season. Mike Smith (2-0-0, ... Read more »

Editorial: Expel this policy: President Biden should cease his cynical use of Title 42, a public health provision, to expel immigrants

The Biden administration has been forced to make a lot of tough calls in contending with COVID, not all of them to widespread acclaim. From demanding a closer examination of ... Read more »

Parkland Shooting Trial Live Updates: Nikolas Cruz Expected to Plead Guilty to First-Degree Murders

Nikolas Cruz is expected to plead guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder at the Parkland school shooting trial later today in a last-ditch bid to avoid the death penalty. ... Read more »

Andretti on Herta joining F1: ‘Some action going on'

Discussing the possibility of Colton Herta joining the Formula 1 grid, Mario Andretti says “there’s some action going on.” © PA Images Colton Herta watches on during Indy 500 qualifying. ... Read more »

Army Vet Accused of Fraud in $1M Disability Windfall

A Maryland Army veteran could face up to 30 years in prison after, prosecutors said, he made a false claim in 2007 to the Department of Veterans Affairs that he ... Read more »

Brits listen to nearly ten hours of music a week to get out of a bad mood, study finds

THE average adult will listen to almost 10 hours of music a week – often to pull themselves out of a bad mood. A study of 2,000 Brits found almost ... Read more »

Furnace filter guide: Best tips for cleaning and replacing filters

Homeownership comes with what feels like a never-ending to-do list. One important task on that list is ensuring your heating and cooling system is properly maintained. You should be replacing ... Read more »

Altuve's Mid-Game Adjustment Helps Houston Regain Home-Field Advantage

The Astros second baseman sparked Houston’s furious Game 4 rally with a home run that could only have happened after some help from his hitting coach. View the original article ... Read more »

What channel is Celtics vs. Knicks on tonight? Time, TV schedule for 2021 NBA opening week game

Opening week of the 2021-22 NBA season continues as the latest chapter of one of the league’s most historic rivalries unfolds. All-Star forward Jayson Tatum and the Celtics travel to ... Read more »

League of Legends players create zoo within Baron pit featuring jungle monsters

© Provided by Dot Esports The Baron pit is usually quite a dangerous place to be during a game of League, especially when you’re surrounded by enemy players. But in ... Read more »

Diego Simeone explains Jurgen Klopp handshake snub after Liverpool defeat

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacted angrily after Diego Simeone declined to shake his hand following the Reds 3-2 victory over Atletico Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday night. © Provided ... Read more »

Paratici has urgent January Tottenham transfer plan to fix major Nuno weak point

Tottenham will make a new attacking signing a priority for the upcoming January transfer window, according to a report. © PA Images Tottenham director of football Fabio Paratici watching his ... Read more »

Mkhize challenges SIU Digital Vibes report, says unit had predetermined outcome

© @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter FILE: Former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize delivered a speech at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg where the country’s first COVID-19 patient was treated. JOHANNESBURG – Axed Health Minister Zweli ... Read more »

Week 7 Betting Preview: Bye-mageddon & three double-digit dogs

Subscribe to the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast Apple Podcasts • Spotify • Stitcher • Google Podcasts Six teams are on bye this week, including the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills & ... Read more »

UK inflation dips but rate rise still forecast

British annual inflation cooled slightly in September, official data showed Wednesday, remaining close to a nine-year peak that still risks a UK interest rate rise next month. © Niklas HALLE’N ... Read more »

An anti-vax doctor who's one of the biggest spreaders of COVID-19 disinformation says he doesn't lose sleep if his remarks cause death

A healthcare worker holds a syringe of COVID-19 vaccine. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images The Center for Countering Digital Hate has named Dr. Rashid Buttar as one of ... Read more »

Watch the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Set a 7:09.3 Nürburgring Lap Time

The 718 Cayman GT4 is one of our favorite new cars from Porsche right now. Its mid-engine layout, fantastic flat-six engine, and buttery-smooth six-speed gearbox are enough to get anyone ... Read more »

New Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Laps Nurburgring Quicker Than Last 911 GT3

The 718 Cayman GT4 is a highly competent vehicle, but as it turns out, the platform is capable of even more. Enter the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS. In the ... Read more »

Will Google's Pixel 6 and 6 Pro work with 5G? The answer is complicated

Google’s new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, introduced at Google’s October Pixel event Tuesday, both seem poised to rival the iPhone 13 and the Galaxy S21 as the best phones of ... Read more »

The Liverpool pasta restaurant giving out 2551 free pasta meals

© Pasta 51 Express Instagram Liverpool’s Pasta 51 Express is giving out 2551 free pasta cones next Monday, in celebration of World Pasta Day. The restaurant, located at 51 Whitechapel ... Read more »

Christmas Champagne shortage to hit UK shelves - ‘Difficulties in supplying high demand'

© Getty Christmas champagne The lack of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers keeps on hitting the UK with an upcoming shortage of Champagne forecasted by wine professionals. Restaurants are currently ... Read more »

Nabiktima Si Michael V Ng Online Seller Scam: 'Kung Di N'yo In-Order, Just Say No'

May online seller scam alert si Michael V para sa mga tulad niyang namimili sa pamamagitan ng digital platform. Nag-post siya ng video tungkol dito sa kanyang Instagram account. “May ... Read more »

Stoke 0-1 Bournemouth: Solanke tap in sends leaders six points clear

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The meanest travellers in the Championship did it again on Tuesday night, but Bournemouth were given an unexpected helping hand. Dominic Solanke grabbed ... Read more »

Paul Robinson hails Rafa Benitez for upturn in Everton home form

Pundit Paul Robinson has heaped praise upon Everton manager Rafa Benitez for improving his side’s home form in recent games. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Sport Everton v West Ham United ... Read more »

Joe Cole full of praise for 'immense' Alisson Becker display

All too often the unsung hero of the side, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker showed once again why he is amongst the very best in the business on Tuesday night. © ... Read more »

Greedent and the Halloween Festival event are live in Pokémon UNITE

The Halloween Festival event is now live in Pokémon UNITE, bringing new Holowear, a balance patch, and the Squirrel Pokémon Greedent to the game as a playable character.  © Provided ... Read more »

Arkansas may pass a bill akin to Texas' six-week abortion ban

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Arkansas will likely be the next state to ban abortion for women who are more than six weeks pregnant.  Last week, State Sen. ... Read more »

Twitch's ‘do not ban' list highlights special treatment of platform's prominent creators

© Provided by Dot Esports Twitch suffered the biggest data breach in its history earlier this month and while streamer incomes may have been the most publicized and popular information ... Read more »

Lakers' two-man show not enough against Warriors depth on opening night

© Provided by NBC Sports LOS ANGELES — Last season, when Stephen Curry went to the bench, the Warriors fell apart. It got ugly, particularly on offense. It’s just one ... Read more »

John Rich sells Nashville's Cotton Eyed Joe honky-tonk property on Lower Broadway

Lower Broadway’s Cotton Eyed Joe honky-tonk building has a new owner. The property at 200 Broadway formerly owned by country music icon John Rich sold for $24.5 million, broker Robin ... Read more »

Kenosha Mass Shooting Sees Three People Killed, Two in Critical Condition

Three people are dead after a shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the early hours of Wednesday morning. © Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images A Kenosha Police car drives past the ... Read more »

US surgeons successfully test pig kidney transplant in human patient

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) By Nancy Lapid NEW YORK – For the first time, a pig kidney has been transplanted into a human without triggering immediate rejection by ... Read more »