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Breast cancer is common, affecting 1 in 7 Australian women by the age of 85.

Many women have one family member who has had breast cancer, however most breast cancers (approximately 95%) are NOT related to a strong family history of breast cancer.

The two factors that most increase your risk of breast cancer are two that we cannot modify: being female and getting older! However there are some things we can do that can modify breast cancer risk.

The following are lifestyle choices that apply to all women. These changes can reduce your risk of breast (and other) cancers:

  • Follow a healthy diet, high in fruit, vegetables (especially green leafy ones) and low in processed foods
  • Exercise moderately for 20 minutes a day
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Avoid alcohol altogether (if you can’t do this, then limit your intake to one drink a day)
  • Stop smoking
  • Breastfeed if possible
  • Avoid hormone therapy use after menopause



  1. Breast Cancer Risk Factors: A review of the evidence
  2. Population Attributable Risk of Modifiable and Non-modifiable Breast Cancer Risk Factors in Postmenopausal Breast Cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology 2016; 184 (12):884-893
  3. Reducing Breast Cancer Risk. Sydney Cancer Genetics website: http://www.sydneycancergenetics.com.au/

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