Breast cancer prevention

Can a healthy diet prevent breast cancer?

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Eating a healthy diet might decrease your risk of some types of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. For example, women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts might have a reduced risk of breast cancer. The Mediterranean diet focuses on mostly on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. People who follow the Mediterranean diet choose healthy fats, such as olive oil, over butter and eat fish instead of red meat.

Maintaining a healthy weight also is a key factor in breast cancer prevention.

Is there a link between birth control pills and breast cancer?

There’s some evidence that hormonal contraception, which includes birth control pills and IUDs that release hormones, increases the risk of breast cancer. But the risk is considered very small, and it decreases after you stop using hormonal contraceptives.

A recent study that showed an association between hormonal contraceptive use and breast cancer determined one additional breast cancer could be expected for every 7,690 women who use hormonal contraception for at least one year.

Discuss your contraceptive options with your doctor. Also consider the benefits of hormonal contraception, such as controlling menstrual bleeding, preventing an unwanted pregnancy, and reducing the risk of other cancers, including endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer.

What else can I do?

Be vigilant about breast cancer detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. Also, ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screenings based on your personal history.

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