More research is needed before we understand all the causes of breast cancer, but it is believed that it mostly develops as a result of the genes with which you were born, the environment in which you live and certain lifestyle factors.
This means that whilst there is no sure-fire way of preventing cancer there are steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of developing the illness.
New research from Oxford University has shown that 15 minutes of vigorous exercise every day could cut the risk of getting the disease by one fifth.
The study of 125,000 post-menopausal women showed that those who did between 15 minutes and 35 minutes of vigorous physical activity a day, such as running, were less likely to develop breast cancer compared with those who did none.
What other things can you do to help reduce your chances of breast cancer?
1. Be “breast aware”
Most cases of breast cancer are discovered when women noticing something unusual and go to their doctor. Being aware of the look and feel of your breasts is an important part of being able to spot any changes that occur. Get to know what your breast look like in front of a mirror, and how they feel at different times of the month.
2. Breast-feed your children
n 2013 the World Cancer Research Fund advised women to breastfeed for at least six months after a study of 380,000 people found it reduced the risk of dying of cancer by 10 per cent. The study found that mothers who did also saw their chance of death from circulatory disease drop by 17 per cent.
3. Limit your alcohol intake
In 2013 research from the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Public Health showed alcohol could cause up to 15 per cent of breast cancer related deaths. Alcohol was also classified as one of the most carcinogenic substances by the World Health Organisation in 1988 and yet, according to the American researchers, very few people realise how even limited alcohol consumption can put their health at risk.
4. Avoid a high fat diet
Research by the Epic breast cancer study earlier this year indicated that a high fat diet increases the risks of breast cancer by a fifth and that a heavy consumption of saturated fat raised the risk of hormone-sensitive breast cancer by 28 per cent.
5. Watch your weight
New research from University College London has shown that women who go up a skirt size with each decade could raise their risk of developing breast cancer after the menopause by one third. Obesity has long been known to increase the risk of breast cancer, so watching your weight and eating healthily is a good way to decrease your chances of developing the illness.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.