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9 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

By Nicki Miller

Did you know about 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime?1 While there are certain factors you can’t change when it comes to potentially developing breast cancer (like genetics and getting older), there are many things you can do to counteract your risk. There are no 100 percent guarantees to prevent this disease, so if you notice any changes up top, make a doctor’s appointment and continue to get annual mammograms once your doctor advises. Early detection can make a big difference. Here’s a list of 9 ways to help you reduce your risk.

1. Eat healthy foods

Don’t skimp on those veggies! While the American Cancer Society says foods are still an active area of research, there have been findings that show a diet that includes an abundance of vegetables, fruits, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products has been found to lower one’s risk.2 However, it is proven that diets high in fat can lead to obesity, which is a risk for developing breast cancer. Although there isn’t a verified link between diet and the disease just yet, focusing on a nutrient-dense diet and keeping your weight in check can help improve your overall health. The Jenny Craig meal plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources and heart-healthy fats while limiting saturated fat, sodium and added sugars to help you reduce your chances of obesity and learn how to maintain your weight.

2. Maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause  

According to the America Cancer Society, being overweight increases your risk of developing breast cancer.3 Furthermore, women who gain weight after menopause are at even more risk. This is due to estrogen coming from fat tissue after menopause. Having more fat tissue can increase your chance of getting breast cancer by raising estrogen levels.4

3. Time your meals according to your body clock’s circadian rhythm

shutterstock_BC_CircadianRhythm.jpgGet back to your body’s natural state. Your circadian rhythm, in simplest terms, is your body’s natural clock. By only eating during a 12-hour period during the day, starting from the time you have breakfast, you allow your body to reset and regenerate at night after a busy day metabolizing your food.  This helps to be in sync with your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Studies have shown a decrease in inflammation and insulin-resistance by eating more frequently and reducing evening eating, which is good news since both of these factors, when unregulated, can contribute to developing breast cancer.5 And an added perk is that eating with your circadian rhythm can help optimize metabolism and accelerate weight loss.6 Jenny Craig utilizes this strategy in conjunction with a nutritionally balanced menu in their complete weight loss program, Rapid Results. Members can lose up to 16 pounds in their first 4 weeks! †

† Avg. weight loss in study was 11.6 lbs for those who completed the program.

4. Stay active

shutterstock_BC_Walk.jpgYou don’t have to hit the gym 24-7. While regular exercise can help with weight maintenance, you should also limit how much time you spend sitting. The American Cancer Society recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (such as walking fast enough that you are breathing hard) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (like jogging) each week—or a combination of both.7


5. Sleep soundly

Time to get some Z’s. Disrupting your circadian rhythm at night by either staying up late or not getting enough sleep has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.8 Turn in early regularly to ensure you get a good night’s rest and give your body enough time to recover from your day.


6. Limit alcohol

You may want to pass on the wine as alcohol has been found to increase your likelihood of breast cancer.9 Alcohol can increase estrogen in the body as well as potentially damage DNA cells.7-10 As even small amounts of alcohol can pose a risk for cancer, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends not drinking at all.11


7. Stop smokingshutterstock_BC_StopSmoking.jpg

Smoking isn’t ideal for your health in general because of the carcinogens it contains, but there is a growing link between cigarettes and breast cancer, specifically in premenopausal women.12


8. Breastfeed

Research has shown women who breastfeed can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by up to 20 percent compared to those who opt not to nurse.13 Even more interesting, is the amount of time a woman breastfeeds also impacts her risk. Studies have shown nursing longer than one year can help reduce your cancer risk.14

9. Avoid hazardous chemicals

Although more research is still being done on the link between specific chemicals and breast cancer, try to be cognizant of your interaction with pesticides, paints and gasoline, among other chemicals you may interact with daily.15


Give these tips a try! They may not only help you reduce your risk of breast cancer but will also likely improve your overall health.


Are you ready to incorporate healthier food options with a weight loss plan that is scientifically supported? Contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment!





[1] http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics

[2] https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/can-i-lower-my-risk.html

[3] https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/how-your-weight-affects-your-risk-of-breast-cancer.html

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689796/

[5] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136240

[6] Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001.  

[7] https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/acs-recommendations.html

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4627279/

[9] http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/alcohol

[10] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cancer-alcohol/how-alcohol-damages-stem-cell-dna-and-increases-cancer-risk-idUSKBN1ES1N2

[11] http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/recommendations-for-cancer-prevention/recommendations_06_alcohol.html

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007228/

[13] https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/does-breast-feeding-really-decrease-my-cancer-risk/2017/10/12/deffbf4c-a3ab-11e7-b14f-f41773cd5a14_story.html?utm_term=.394a24168591

[14] http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/20130904-4

[15] https://bcaction.org/our-take-on-breast-cancer/environment/

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