Ten Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

By Dr. Garvit Chitkara in Nanavati Max Institute of Cancer Care , Breast Cancer Program

Apr 24 , 2023 | 4 min read

Ten Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer


Breast cancer is a serious health condition that requires early detection and prompt treatment for the best possible outcomes. Some of the risk factors associated with breast cancer include age, gender, family history, genetic mutations, exposure to radiation, obesity, hormonal factors, and alcohol consumption.

Breast cancer can begin in one or both breasts simultaneously. It is the most common cancer among women worldwide, although men can also be impacted. Breast cancer initiates when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control and develop breast lumps. Although all breast lumps are not malignant or cancerous, still proper detection of the malignancy of the lump must be done by a healthcare professional.

10 tips to prevent breast cancer

Healthy weight and breast cancer

Obesity has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. This may be due to the fact that fat tissue produces estrogen, and after menopause, when the ovaries stop producing estrogen, fat tissue becomes the primary source of estrogen in the body. High levels of estrogen have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Maintaining a healthy body weight and body mass index (BMI) can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as other health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. A BMI of 25 or less is considered within the healthy range, while a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese.

Have healthy food to escape tipping the scale

A healthy diet containing fresh vegetables and fruits can help lower the risk of breast cancer. It's important to limit or avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and refined carbohydrates. This can include sugary drinks such as soda, as well as fried foods, processed snacks, and desserts.

Instead, focus on incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources such as chicken or fish, and whole grains into your diet. These foods are rich in nutrients and fiber, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied while also providing important health benefits.

Staying physically active is key for breast cancer prevention

Enhanced physical activity can reduce the overall risk of breast cancer by at least 10%. Moderate exercise like doing yoga or walking for 20 minutes five days a week can help anyone stay physically active. This will ultimately benefit them in leading a healthy life and staying away from cancer.

Alcohol consumption and breast cancer

Consuming even a small amount of alcohol is associated with an enhanced risk of breast cancer in women. Alcohol raises estrogen levels in the body, thus explaining the increased risk. Thus cutting back on alcohol consumption or limiting that to no more than one drink per day can lower the risk of breast cancer.

Circumvent hormone replacement therapy

Women undergoing menopausal hormone therapy to prevent chronic diseases have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This risk is particularly associated with the use of estrogen and progesterone together, which is known as combined hormone therapy. Studies have shown that taking combined hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer.

Take an estrogen-blocking medication if your doctor suggests

Medicines like aromatase inhibitors, which stop the estrogen production of the body post-menopause, are included in this category. These drugs deprive the estrogen levels which are needed by the breast cancer cells to grow and proliferate. Thus, women above 60 years or having a family history of cancer must consult a doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of estrogen-blocking drugs like tamoxifen and raloxifene. These medications have been approved only for patients who have proven genetic mutations that predispose them to cancer and even in these patients should be taken under the guidance of your oncologist.

Quit smoking

Cigarette smoke contains many cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. There is an association between long-term smoking and an enhanced risk of breast cancer in some women. Smoking also boosts the chances of dying of breast cancer post-diagnosis. It also makes cancer more likely to reappear. Thus quitting smoking can help evade the risk of cancer.

Continue breastfeeding for a long time

A woman during her pregnancy and breastfeeding shed breast tissue. This shedding can help in removing cells with potential DNA damage, thus reducing the chances of having breast cancer. Research showed that breastfeeding babies for at least a year can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women and also benefit their children.

Know the family cancer history

Family history is an integral part of identifying an individual’s risk of developing primary cancer. Thus, women having a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer can take necessary protective steps. A higher risk is there when any family member is diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage.

Exercise and encourage breast cancer research

Practicing physical activity regularly can markedly reduce the risk of breast cancer. Apart from staying healthy and fit, investing in breast cancer research can produce real results. From discovering ways to inhibit the disease to learning why certain families are more prone, you can get enough information about breast cancer.

Don't take birth control pills after 35 or if you smoke

There is some evidence that birth control pills may increase the risk of breast cancer. However, the overall risk is relatively small and decreased after stopping the hormonal contraceptives. Young women have a lower risk than those above 35 years. The consequence of a pill can also be enhanced stroke and heart attack, particularly in a woman who smokes.


Breast cancer has a 25% death rate. However, making some positive lifestyle changes can evade breast cancer risk factors. Be alert about breast cancer detection. If any changes are noticed in the breast in the form of a new lump or skin changes, quickly consult a doctor.