There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, but the things you do — or don't — can dramatically reduce the risk of becoming a victim. Research across several fields indicates that women (and men) have at least some degree of control over their chances of facing the disease, based on lifestyle choices.
An analysis of nearly 50 studies shows a connection between breastfeeding and reduced breast cancer rates, according to The Susan G. Komen Foundation. Women, especially premenopausal women, are significantly less likely to get breast cancer after having breastfed for one year than those who did not. After two years, the benefit doubles. Women who breastfed for more than two years over their lifetime get the most benefit.
A single alcoholic drink per day increases the risk of breast cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. The report, released with the World Cancer Research Fund, found that risk increased for women before and after menopause, even when the drink was smaller than a normal serving size.
Children and young women exposed to significant radiation early in life, especially in the chest, suffer rates of breast cancer three to seven times higher than those who didn't, according to Komen. These exposures are often for Hodgkin's disease treatment, which, Komen points out, is still beneficial even though it increases the risk of later-life breast cancer.