1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, meaning more families in Australia are impacted directly, or indirectly, by breast cancer than any other type of cancer.
While there are some risk factors we can’t change – like gender, age and family history, there are some we can. Here’s a few ways we can manage our risk of developing breast cancer thanks to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).
The risk of breast cancer increases with the number of drinks consumed and evidence suggested that approximately 6% of breast cancer cases each year are associated with alcohol.
Being overweight or obese
By maintaining a healthy weight post menopause, women can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
The more active you are, the greater the health benefits! Regardless of age, women who exercise have a decreased risk of breast cancer compared to those who don’t.
While we are all aware of the health impacts of smoking, there is also evidence that there is a connection between smoking and an increased risk of breast cancer, in particular for those who began smoking at a very early age.
Having children and breastfeeding
While some risk factors are easier to change than others, like quitting smoking and getting active, there is also evidence to suggest that with each child a woman has, her risk of developing breast cancer can decrease by 7%. The reason being is that it is thought that changes in the breast during pregnancy and breastfeeding may make the cells less likely to become cancerous.
Changing the stats
Since the NBCF begun funding research in 1994, five-year survival rates have increased to 91%. Breast cancer contained within the breast is now largely treatable and five-year survival rates have improved to 96%.
You can learn more about the NBCF’s research, breast cancer and their goal of zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030 here.