5 Top Tips to reduce your risk | Breast Cancer UK

5 Top Tips to reduce your risk

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.  Each year over 55,000 people (1) are diagnosed with this terrible disease.  

Sadly not all breast cancers are preventable.  Yet at least 1 in 4 breast cancer cases each year in the UK are thought to be preventable(2).

We can't totally eliminate our risk of breast cancer, but there is a lot we can do to reduce our risk - and in doing so, we'll reduce our risk of a lot of other illnesses and conditions too.

Simple lifestyle changes can help to reduce breast cancer risk. We can also take simple steps to reduce our exposures to environmental pollutants that are linked to breast cancer.

Our guide provides tips and advice on lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk - simply said these are:

  • Reduce your alcohol intake
  • Exercise more
  • Improve your diet
  • Reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Reduce use of HRT and consider alternatives to oral contraception

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For more details about the science behind our top five tips please see our background briefing: Top five tips for improving your health and reducing your risk of breast cancer


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7. Travis, R. C. and Key, T. J. (2003). Oestrogen exposure and breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Research 5: 239-247. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC314432/

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9. Theriau, C. F. et al (2016). Voluntary physical activity abolishes the proliferative tumor growth microenvironment created by adipose tissue in animals fed a high fat diet. Journal of Applied Physiology 121: 139–153. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27150834

10. Schmidt, S. et al. (2015). The integrative role of leptin, oestrogen and the insulin family in obesity-associated breast cancer: potential effects of exercise. Obesity reviews 16: 473–487. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25875578

11. Warburton, D. E. R. and Bredin, S. S. D. (2016). Reflections on Physical Activity and Health: What Should We Recommend? Canadian Journal of Cardiology 32(4): 407-409. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26995692

12. Matthews, S. B. and Thompson, H. J. (2016). The Obesity-Breast Cancer Conundrum: An Analysis of the Issues. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 17: 989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27338371

13. Aune, D. et al. (2012). Vegetables and breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 134(2): 479-93. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22706630/

14. Schwingshackl, L. and Hoffman, G. (2016). Does a Mediterranean-Type Diet Reduce Cancer Risk? Current Nutrition Reports 5: 9-17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4778149/pdf/13668_2015_Article_141.pdf

15 Castelló, A. et al. (2017). Adherence to the Western, Prudent and Mediterranean dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: MCC-Spain study. Maturitas 103: 8-15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28778338

16. Hahnkamper-Vandenbulcke, N. (2017). Fact Sheets on the European Union: chemicals http://www.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/en/displayFtu.html?ftuId=FTU_5.4.8.html (Accessed August 8, 2017)

17. Schug, T. T. et al. (2016). Minireview: Endocrine Disruptors: Past Lessons and Future Directions. Molecular Endocrinology 30(8): 833–84. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/pdf/10.1210/me.2016-1096

18. The Endocrine Disruptor Exchange (2017). https://endocrinedisruption.org/ (Accessed August 8, 2017)

19. Macon, M. B. and Fenton, S. E. (2013). Endocrine Disruptors and the Breast: Early Life Effects and Later Life Disease. Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia 18: 43-61. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23417729

20. UNEP/WHO (2013). State of the science of endocrine disrupting chemicals 2012: full report. http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/endocrine/en/ (accessed August 7, 2017)

21. Harley, K. G. et al. (2016). Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure from Personal Care Products in Adolescent Girls: Findings from the HERMOSA Intervention Study. Environmental Health Perspectives 124(10): 1600-1607. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10514/

22. Jones, M. E. et al. (2016). Menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer: what is the true size of the increased risk? British Journal of Cancer (2016) 115: 607–615. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27467055/

23. Chlebowski, R. T. et al. (2015). Breast Cancer after use of Estrogen Plus Progestin and Estrogen Alone Analyses of Data From 2 Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Clinical Trials. JAMA Oncology 1(3): 296-305. http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2250347

24. Travis, R. C. and Key, T. J. (2003). Oestrogen exposure and breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Research 5: 239-247. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC314432/


Page last updated October 18, 2017

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