Weight is a really important factor to the postmenopausal woman. Higher body mass index and postmenopausal weight gain increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. A woman who has a BMI of more than 33 is 27% more likely to get breast cancer than a woman with a BMI of less than 21. Losing about 22 pounds will lower your risk, Regular physical activity can help women protect themselves from breast cancer. Engaging in, say, fast walking for 10 hours or more per week can benefit women immensely.
Drinking alcohol has definitely been shown to be a risk factor and the more one drinks, the higher the risk. I always say, “one drink is good for the heart, but two drinks are bad for your breasts”.
Other factors that seem to help decrease the risk: eating olive oil, sticking to a low-fat diet that includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates and minimal red meat. Taking Vitamin D and CoQ10 may also help lower your risk. Soy is still controversial, so I advise eating no more than what is in a standard Asian diet — 20 grams per day.
Breastfeeding for a least six months may decrease breast cancer risk. With every 12 months of breastfeeding, a reduction of 4.3% was seen for breast cancer risk.
Finally, if a woman can control for this, she should try to have a baby at a younger age. Having a first baby before age 25 will decrease a woman’s risk by 10% and having a baby before 35 decreases her risk by 5%. Unfortunately, having a first baby later in life puts a woman at greater risk for breast cancer because of perimenopausal breast changes from hormones of pregnancy.
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