Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

October 3, 2023

Interview opportunity: Dr. Christine Pestana, surgical oncologist at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and assistant professor of surgical oncology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, is available for virtual interviews at 10:30 a.m., tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 4. Please respond via email for the Zoom link.

October is a great time to remember to schedule your mammogram and remind those you love to do the same. This month is a time to raise awareness about breast health and the importance of preventative care.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Early detection is so important and can help in a patient’s treatment journey,” Pestana said. “It is no secret that the earlier any cancer is detected the better the outcome. Breast cancer is highly treatable and that is why receiving an annual mammogram is so important.”

Pestana shared several ways to lower the risk.

Limiting Alcohol

Consuming alcohol is a risk factor and drinking more than three alcoholic beverages a week has been associated with increased risk of breast cancer in women.

Know Your Family History

Knowing your family history can help in determining if you are a candidate for genetic screening. If you have a family history of a certain disease it can help you make decisions to lower the risk of developing that disease.

Live a Healthy and Active Lifestyle

The latest recommendation for adults calls for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. Maintaining an ideal body weight has also been associated with improved health outcomes overall.

Early Detection

Women should have a mammogram every year beginning at age 40, but if you have any changes in your breast or underarm, such as a lump or pain, contact your medical provider.

“Many women can be nervous or scared before their mammogram appointment, but it really is not anything to be concerned about, Pestana said. “Getting a mammogram can save many lives. You may feel a little discomfort while the breast is getting compressed, but it should not be painful, and it does not harm your breast.”

Media contacts:

Jenna Kurzyna,; Joe McCloskey,