News on lifestyle changes to reduce risk?


Question from hogue: Is there anything new in terms of lifestyle to reduce risk of breast cancer and recurrences that we should know?
Answers - Marisa Weiss There are basic everyday steps that you can take that may help keep you healthy and reduce your risk of breast cancer. Getting to and sticking to a healthy weight is important for breast health as well as for your overall health. I'm not talking skinny. Ask your doctor or your nurse practitioner what your healthy weight would be. Keep in mind that effective weight loss does require both modifying your diet as well as increasing physical activity, but most of the effort is in reducing what you eat. I believe it's an 80-20 proposition: it will take a few hours of walking on the treadmill to get rid of one piece of cheesecake. It's also important to limit your use of alcohol to five or fewer drinks per week. Two to three drinks per week is better, and none or only occasional use is best. It’s important to stay physically active, shooting for 3-4 hours of exercise per week. If you can get to 5, that's even better. I highly recommend Zumba -- it's the only form of exercise that gets me out of my house and that I look forward to. It combines music and dance, two things I love. It also helps get your "sexy" back, something that many of us after breast cancer have to work to make happen. I believe it's important to follow a diet that's mostly vegetarian, so 2/3 of your plate should be fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, etc. and 1/3 of your plate a protein source like fish, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, or beef. I think it's important to buy hormone-free dairy products. My favorite is Stonyfield. I also think it's important to minimize your use of red meat -- and if you eat beef, buy meat that is raised without hormones. I recommend you buy organic fruits and vegetables that are least likely to be treated with pesticides, like apples, bell peppers, and berries. You can buy many vegetables from nonorganic sources like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Go to www.ewg.org for a list of the "Dirty Dozen" as well as the "Clean 15." I also think it's important to cook, store, freeze, and heat your food in stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or enamel-coated metal pans. Do not cook in plastic. I suggest you carry your water around in a glass or stainless steel water bottle. My favorite is a glass water bottle with a silicone outer sleeve available at www.lifefactory.com. These are changes you can make over time. Don't expect too much of yourself. It's hard to make all these changes all at once.

On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2010 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Eric Winer, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening, and treatment in early and metastatic breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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