01. Maintain a healthy body weight
Fat cells produce estrogen and other hormones that cause your cells to divide. If you are overweight or obese, you will produce more of these hormones than your body needs. This increases the chance that cells in your breasts will become cancer cells.
Your risk of breast cancer rises if you are moderately to significantly overweight. Factors that increase your risk include:
- a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or more
- a high percentage of body fat
- extra weight around your waist and abdomen, rather than on your hips and thighs
- weight gain later in life.
The research shows quite clearly that after menopause, overweight women have a higher risk of breast cancer. It is true that before menopause, excess weight appears to protect against breast cancer. However, because extra weight increases your risk of many other diseases, it’s always better to maintain a healthy weight throughout your life.
What you can do:
You can use a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator to find out whether your weight falls within the healthy range for your height. A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is generally considered normal.
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are the best ways to manage your weight. There are many resources available online that offer information and support to help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. You can also ask for advice from your doctor.