- Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol. Drinking alcohol may be related to a higher risk of breast cancer. Drinking large amounts of alcohol seems to stimulate more estrogen production in the body that could increase one type of breast cancer. So, limit your alcohol intake to no more than one alcoholic beverage a day or fewer. When it comes to alcohol and breast cancer, less is best!
- Stay at a Healthy Weight. While being overweight before the diagnosis of breast cancer seems to be the strongest predictor of recurrence, many doctors recommend maintaining a healthy weight for better health. Many women gain weight after a breast cancer diagnosis. The numbers could be as high as 60% to 70%. Some studies show that this could increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence and of heart disease. Less exercise, starting menopause, and some breast cancer treatments may be to blame for the increased weight gain.
- Eat Low Fat. Some studies show that a low fat diet can lower the chances of recurrence. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats!
- Get Checked for Vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D may be related to an increased risk of breast cancer. Taking more is not better, but if your levels are low, you need to get them into the normal, healthy range.
- Stay on Your Medicines. Be sure to stick with your medication regimen that your cancer doctor prescribes. Many women don’t take their medicines as their doctor advises – this could lead to a cancer coming back.
- Exercise! Ten-year survival rates are higher for women who exercise.
Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham