Healthy Weight and Exercise Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

KNWA -- Our western habits are wreaking havoc on our bodies, according to Dr. J. Thaddeus Beck at Highlands Oncology Group. 

"If you go to countries where the diet is more restricted, there's less to eat, breast cancer rates actually go down," Dr. Beck said.  Dr. Beck said how much you eat and exercise will impact your chances of developing breast cancer.

"If you're above a certain BMI, you'll have three times the risk of cancer compared to a group of patients who are at their normal BMI," he said. To keep your weight down, Dr. Beck recommends his patients see a nutritionist.

"So the more you weigh, the higher your estrogen levels are and the higher your breast cancer risk will be," he said. And it's not just about how much you eat, but how much you burn.

"The habit of exercise is probably the best thing you can do to maintain health and avoid cancer risk." According to the Arkansas Department of Health, more than 2,300 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Research suggests exercise fights against the recurrence of breast cancer in survivors.

"I'm trying to develop a buddy system in Northwest Arkansas, where breast cancer survivors who have a habit of exercise, can mentor other breast cancer survivors who don't have a habit of exercise, and try and spread that habit," Dr. Beck.

Saving lives starts with small changes, and simple choices.

To check your BMI, click here.

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