Health Beat

Health Beat: 5 easy ways to cut breast cancer risk

LOS ANGELES - More than 3.1 million women in the United States are living with breast cancer, but you don't have to become one of them.

First, watch your weight. One study found women who gained 21 to 30 pounds after age 18 were 40 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn't gain more than five.

Another tip is spend less time sitting. In a study, women who sat for six hours a day or longer when not working had a 10 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who sat less than three hours.

Next, limit alcohol. Women who have two to three drinks a day have about a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who don't drink. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than one alcoholic drink a day for women.

Lastly, if you do develop breast cancer, early detection is crucial for a good outcome.

"The mammogram is basically the gold standard, and that's the one that's been studied the most and has shown to actually decrease deaths from breast cancer," said Dr. Cynthia Litwer, Cedars-Sinai Imaging.

The five-year survival rate for breast cancer that's found early is 99 percent. See your doctor right away if you feel a lump, and make sure you have all recommended screening tests.

Some experts also recommend you avoid hormone replacement therapy. That treatment can up your risk of breast cancer, but if you stop taking it, your risk returns to normal within five years.


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