Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women – one in eight women are detected with breast cancer. In India, it has been ranked the number one cancer among Indian females with age adjusted rate as high as 25.8 per 100,000 women and mortality 12.7 per 100,000 women. 
There is not one single factor which leads to developing breast cancer. Risk factors associated with breast cancer include the genes we inherit, age, family history, race, and our lifestyles, to mention a few. There, however, things that we can change to help stack the odds in our favour and reduce your risk. Leading a healthy lifestyle – by limiting how much you drink, keeping to a healthy weight and staying physically active – can help lower the chances of developing breast cancer.
Although treating breast cancer has improved with technological advancement, nevertheless, prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to help lower your risk of breast cancer.
- Control your weight:
It is easy to tune out because it gets said so often, but maintaining a healthy weight is an important goal for after menopause. Ways to banish unwanted fat are to avoid overeating and eating food load with sugar and fat. Listen to your gut and eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. Remember to also exercise daily and get enough sleep.
- Get regular physical exercise:
Exercise is as close to a silver bullet for good health as there is, and women who are physically active daily have a lower risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep your weight in check. You can start by including at least 30 min of vigorously walking daily. As you get more comfortable, you aim to walking for an hour every day. Do not think that exercising means going to the gym. It is as easy as tying your walking shoes and heading out for a walk.
- Eat healthy:
Reduce your risk of cancer with plant-based foods. A recent report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends emphasising plant-based foods to reduce cancer risk.  Keep your dinner plate full of colourful veggies, whole grains and beans, which are rich in fibre and other nutrients. Stay away from processed foods, meat, added sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats. Eating healthy can go a long way.
- Maintain healthy vitamin D levels
Studies have identified that women with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of breast cancer. This is because vitamin D may play a role in controlling normal breast cell growth. If you are not getting enough sunshine daily, you must supplement daily. Vitamin D supplementation will help in maintaining healthy vitamin D levels. Unived offers a vegan vitamin D3 supplement which is made with plant-based vitamin D3 and organic spirulina.
- Avoid birth control pills:
Taking birth control pills after age 35 and if you smoke, can increase your risk of breast cancer. Although birth control pills have benefits, they also have risks. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. If you are concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one way to lower risk.
- Find out your family history
Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may be at higher risk of breast cancer, if they have a mother or sister who developed breast or ovarian cancer (especially at an early age) or if they have multiple family members (including males) who developed breast, ovarian or prostate cancer. Know your family history and speak with your doctor to find out what you can do to prevent breast cancer.
Remember prevention is always better than cure. Take control of your health and be aware of the risk factors that can lead to breast cancer. Making some simple lifestyle changes like following a more plant-based diet and getting exercise daily, can make a big difference. Start today, not tomorrow.