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Learn how lifestyle factors influence breast cancer risk

Posted by Alyssa Malmquist on December 07, 2021
Alyssa Malmquist
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Although breast cancer cannot be prevented entirely, the quality of life and outcome of several cancer patients can be improved through important lifestyle changes. For tips you can share with your patients, continue reading for a summary of our workshop, featuring Dr. Amy Comander, Breast Oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Waltham and Newton-Wellesley, Dr. Farah Shafi, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at AllWays Health Partners, and Lisa-Beth Doyle MS, RD, LDN, Manager, Health and Wellness at AllWays Health Partners.

Breast oncologist Dr. Amy Comander reminds us that although October is technically National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we can still educate ourselves all year long. Dr. Comander encourages all women who are eligible to get their mammograms. Evidence shows that mammographic screening lowers mortality rates by catching cancer early. While nothing is 100 percent, everyone can take steps in terms of lifestyle factors to optimize our health and reduce our risk of developing cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, at least 18% of all cancers and about 16% of cancer deaths in the US are related to excess body weight, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition.

Here are four steps you can take today to lower your risk of developing cancer:

  1. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  2. Stay active and exercise 
  3. Maintain a healthy diet
  4. Eliminate or limit alcohol intake

It's recommended for individuals to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. To maintain a healthy diet, it’s helpful to plan your meals around plant-based foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, lean protein from fish or poultry, and low-fat dairy. Some things to stay away from or limit include red meat, processed meat, and alcohol. Remember, red meat comes from mammals such as a cow, pig, or lamb.

What’s most important for your diet is to include a variety of foods so that you can get all of the different nutrients they have to offer. Lisa-Beth Doyle MS, RD, LDN and Manager, Health and Wellness at AllWays Health Partners, says, “Healthy eating is healthy eating. What’s good for your heart is good for your brain is good for cancer prevention.”

Another critical factor in lowering cancer risk is community action. Our local communities influence the behaviors mentioned above, such as who we spend time with or what grocery stores we have access to close by. With the winter months fast approaching for those living in the New England area, Vitamin D supplements can also support cancer prevention in addition to bone health and several other health benefits. Watch the full webinar recording here.

Dr. Comander recommends visiting the American Cancer Society and referencing the American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.  

To learn more, register for our next webinar: Healthy Comfort Food to Combat Holiday Overindulgence: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 from 12:00 - 1:00 PM

If you're a provider interested in speaking at a future webinar on your area of expertise, email KNelson@AllWaysHealth.org

Topics: Providers

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post represents the clinical opinions of the providers at AllWays Health Partners and is based on the most currently available clinical and governmental guidance.

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