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Approximately 180,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. But there are ways to lower your chances of being among them.
We don't have much control over the two greatest risk factors--being a woman and getting older--but there are other factors that can affect your risk too. While there's no one safeguard that will guarantee you won’t get cancer, there are steps you can take to decrease your risk at every age. “The take-home message is that all women are at risk and there are healthy lifestyle decisions they can make that can decrease risk,” explains Susan Brown, M.S., R.N., manager of health education for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables, limiting alcohol and taking Vitamin D are key to improving your overall health and lowering your risk for breast cancer at every stage of your life. You should also talk to your healthcare provider about your family history of breast cancer to understand your own risk, and get familiar with how your breasts look and feel now, so you can recognize changes later on, explains Brown.
For more age-specific steps you can take, check out our decade-by-decade guides.