Tips to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk at Any Age

You can take steps to reduce your risk of breast cancer today

In Your 50s

Know the “new normal.” As you approach and go through menopause be aware of the “new normal” for you, explains Brown. By the time you’ve reached 50, especially if you’ve had children and breastfed, it will become easier to detect changes, says Lee.

Don’t wait to get checked. Postmenopausal women are at the highest risk for breast cancer and the least likely to have benign lumps. If you notice any changes, don’t hesitate to get it checked out. For higher risk women in their 40s and 50s, drugs like Raloxifene, used to treat osteoporosis and reduce breast cancer risk, and Tamoxifan, originally a treatment for breast cancer, can reduce your risk by 50 percent, says Lee.

Get an annual mammogram. Experts stress getting a mammogram every year after you turn 40, regardless of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendation last year that said otherwise. You should continue to get an annual mammogram--and MRI if you’re at higher risk for breast cancer--for as long as possible. If you notice any changes in between screenings, see your health care provider immediately.

Limit hormone use. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can help treat hot flashes and other bothersome menopause symptoms, but talk to your doctor about using “as low a dose as needed to control your symptoms for as short a time as possible,” says Brown.

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