Healthy lifestyle helps reduce breast cancer risk

  • Published
  • By Maj. Karen Fauber
  • Defense Commissary Agency
Eating healthy, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can be helpful in preventing breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Prevention Month. When shopping at the commissary, look for food that promotes breast health awareness and cancer research. Many food manufacturers are partnering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to fund research and education along with fighting breast cancer. These products bear a pink logo. 

Maintain a healthy weight 

There are plenty of reasons to lose the pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Research demonstrates a link between obesity and breast cancer. If you gain more weight later in life, especially after menopause, you may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Fat cells provide estrogen, and breast cancer is linked to how much estrogen you are exposed to in life.

Stay physically active 

Research has shown that women who participated in more than five hours of strenuous activity per week had a lower risk of invasive breast cancer compared with the least-active women. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Start slowly and build up if you haven't been exercising regularly. Also, don't forget weight-bearing exercises such as walking or weight lifting to keep your bones strong.

Eat healthy 

Eating healthy includes limiting fat in your diet and choosing fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, such as spinach and other dark, leafy greens. The average person needs no more than 60 to 70 grams of fat each day. Also, to help protect against breast cancer, limit alcohol consumption to less than one drink a day.

For women, remember to do monthly self-breast exams and start having mammograms after age 40 as recommended by the National Cancer Institute. 

For more information on diet and cancer prevention or other nutrition topics, visit the DeCA Web site at, go to the "DeCA Dietitian," post your questions on the "DeCA Dietitian Forum" and be sure to look for other useful information in the "Dietitian's Voice" archive.