Wednesday, October 19, 2011

5 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Breast Cancer

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By Staff Editor
Oct 17, 2011

( - FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – (October 17, 2011) – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a good time to think about the preventative measures that women can take to help reduce their chances of getting breast cancer. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and although men can also get breast cancer, women are 100 times more likely to get it than men. The National Cancer Institute reports that over 207,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and nearly 40,000 of them died from it.

“Breast cancer is something that all of us as a society need to be aware of, because it is so prevalent,” explains Pam McCullough, the director of the nursing program at Stratford University’s Woodbridge campus ( “The silver lining here is that there are things that we can do to help prevent or reduce our risks of getting breast cancer.”

There are some factors over which we have no control that may contribute to our cancer risks. These include things like a family history of breast cancer, our genetics, age and gender, and our menstrual cycles. (Those who started their period before the age of 12 are at a higher risk.) But many things that we do have the ability to change can lower our risks.

Here are 5 things you can do to help prevent breast cancer:

  1. Maintain a health weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for keeping the body healthy and reducing cancer-rate risks. As obesity continues to be a growing problem in the country, so too do the myriad of health-related problems that stem from it.
  2. Watch the meats. The NIH recommends that people limit their intake of both processed and red meats. Both have been linked to various increases in certain types of cancer.
  3. Eat your fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables should be the cornerstone of every healthy diet. They are packed with nutrients and contain the necessary antioxidants that the body needs in order to fight free radicals and help reduce cancer-rate risks.
  4. Limit alcohol. Having more than one or two alcohol drinks per day increases breast cancer rates. Therefore, it is advised that women drink no more than one alcoholic drink per day. Those who already have a higher breast cancer risk are advised to refrain from alcohol.
  5. Exercise. Being physically active and getting enough exercise is important for maintaining a healthy body and staying at an ideal weight. To maintain a healthy weight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people work their way up to doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of the two. This means that everyone should aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least five days per week.

Additionally, those who are taking long-term hormone therapy may want to speak with their doctor about alternatives, because long-term use increases risks. There is also ongoing research into the link between exposure to air pollution and an increased breast cancer risk.

“Prevention is the first step toward taking care of our own health,” adds McCullough. “There are some factors that we cannot do much to change, like our genes, but there are many lifestyle choices that we can make that will help reduce risks. It is important to take them seriously and apply them to our lives.”

Stratford University offers a variety of degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in nursing, as well as degrees in health sciences, such as EKG-phlebotomy, healthcare administration, pharmacy technician, and medical assisting. In addition, they offer degrees in culinary arts, computer information systems, hotel and restaurant management, and hospitality management. 

About Stratford University:
Stratford University operates campuses in Tysons Corner, Richmond, and Woodbridge. It offers 35 undergraduate and graduate degrees in the areas of Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Health Sciences, Business Administration, and Information Technology. The degree programs are offered both on campus, as well as online. For more information on the competition or Stratford University, please visit
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breast Cancer Prevention. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight. 

National Cancer Institute. Breast Cancer Fact Sheet. 

National Institutes of Health. Breast cancer. 


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5 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Breast Cancer