Breast cancer: a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and an ideal time to revisit the lifestyle choices we can make to reduce our risk for the disease.

Breast cancer affects 1 in 9 Canadian women. According to current statistics, it’s estimated that 25,000 women and 220 men in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and that 5,000 women and 60 men will die from the disease this year. Learn more.

While we can’t alter all of our risk factors for the disease (things like genetics and family history), there are steps we can take to reduce our risk factors for the disease and to support those diagnosed.


History and early detection: It’s also important to know your family history of breast cancer and to share it with your physician. If you haven’t already, speak with your physician about available screening tools like mammography.

Control your weight and exercise: Make healthy food and beverage choices and stay active. Research tells us that both can reduce the risk of developing breast and other cancers too. Aim to meet or exceed Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines which recommend at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity each week for adults.

Don’t smoke: Smoking increases your risk for many cancers, breast cancer included. If you smoke, it’s time to quit. Ask your doctor about supports that can help you break the habit.

Avoid alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and other cancers. If you do drink, limit yourself to no more than one alcoholic beverage per day.

Educate: Help the girls and women in your life reduce their risk for breast cancer by helping them learn about and implement healthy lifestyle changes..


Donate: Make a donation in support of breast cancer research.

Provide practical support: Support friends and family affected by the disease. A few ideas: prepare a meal, lend a supportive ear, assist with errands, help with the kids, drive them to appointments, and be a workout buddy.

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