There are several risk factors for developing breast cancer, but the greatest is, simply, being a woman.
Just this year, there have been approximately 250,000 new cases of breast cancer in American women. While men can develop breast cancer, they account for less than 1 percent of all new breast cancer cases. So what exactly is it about women’s breasts that make them more susceptible to cancer?
- Women’s breast development is usually complete by age 14, whereas men’s breasts rarely fully form.
- Men’s breast cells are inactive, and most men have extremely low levels of estrogen. On the other hand, even after a woman’s breasts are fully formed, the breast cells are very immature and highly active until her first full-term pregnancy. In fact, as long as the breast cells are immature, they’re super responsive to estrogen and other hormones, including hormone disruptors in the environment. This makes them vulnerable to hormonal stimulation, especially during the extra-sensitive period of breast development.
So what can women do about this unfair discrimination by Mother Nature? Here are are some simple lifestyle choices you can make to greatly decrease your risk of developing breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Limit alcohol.
- Eat nutritious food.
- Don’t smoke.