Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Protect Yourself Against Breast Cancer

Nutrition Tips to Prevent Breast Cancer
These healthy eating habits could help prevent breast cancer! You can also learn more about certain foods that fight breast cancer, as well as some cancer-fighting recipes!

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Decrease fat intake to less than 30% of calories
  • Minimize intake of cured, pickled and smoked foods
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation

This month, we're celebrating more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While breast cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed today, early detection, prevention and treatment are giving women reason to celebrate. Here's what you need to know about breast cancer, including how you can reduce your risk and detect any issues early.

There are different risk factors that increase your risk of developing breast cancer. While some of those risk factors cannot be changed, you can control others. All women, especially those with increased risk, should be diligent about screenings and exams to detect breast cancer. Also, having multiple risk factors does not mean that you will develop breast cancer. Risk factors you cannot change include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Family history
  • Previous breast cancer diagnosis
  • Race
There are also several risk factors you have more control over, especially those linked to lifestyle choices. A few of these include:

Alcohol use - Alcohol use is definitively linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Having two to five drinks per day increases the risk about 1 1/2 times over women who don't drink.

Having children - Women who give birth before age 30 have slightly less risk of developing breast cancer than women who give birth after the age of 30 or those who never had children.

Not breastfeeding - Some studies show breastfeeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, especially if it continues for 1 1/2 to 2 years.

Being overweight - Having more fat tissue can increase estrogen levels after menopause and being overweight increases insulin levels, which also increases breast cancer risk. Elevated estrogen levels can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Lack of physical activity - Physical activity boosts overall health, which can reduce breast cancer risk.

Monthly breast self-exams and regular mammograms can help in early detection of breast cancer. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi's Healthy You! wellness benefit covers annual mammograms for women beginning at 35 years of age. For more information about the Healthy You! wellness benefit, including recommended screenings for age and gender, visit the Healthy You! page on our website.

For more information on breast cancer, including how to perform a breast self-exam, visit the American Cancer Society's website.

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