Since the causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, it is not possible to know if anything can prevent it altogether, but there are some dietary and lifestyle approaches that can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Also, early detection is vital to good outcomes.
BreastScreen Australia is the national breast cancer screening program. It provides free screening mammograms at two-yearly intervals for women aged 50-69 with the aim of reducing deaths from breast cancer in this target group through early detection of the disease.
Diet and lifestyle
- Watch your weight. Especially after menopause, being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Exercise. Even moderate physical activity decreases your risk.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol. More than 800 cases of breast cancer in Australia are caused by alcohol consumption each year. Limit your intake to less than 2 standard drinks a day.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is a leading cause of a number of cancers.
Studies have shown that women who breastfeed are statistically less likely to develop breast cancer than those who do not. The reasons are not fully understood, but it could be because women do not ovulate as regularly while they are breastfeeding and oestrogen levels remain stable.
Last reviewed: August 2016