Breast cancer recurrence is often a concern that persists for many breast cancer survivors who are in remission. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle after breast cancer can make a significant impact on your health and your quality of life. Additionally, for individuals diagnosed with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, because estrogen can fuel tumor growth, taking steps to target estrogen in the body may help reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
- Follow Anti-Estrogen Therapy as Prescribed by Your Doctor
Anti-estrogen therapies are typically prescribed to individuals who have been diagnosed with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer tumors. This type of treatment works by either blocking the ability of estrogen or progesterone to function in cells, or by lowering the amount of estrogen in the body.
It is important to follow this treatment as instructed by your doctor. If not taken as directed, the treatment can be ineffective and may cause additional health complications.
- Get Regular Physical Activity
Exercise may lower the amount of estrogen in the body in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. When you are physically active, the amount of fat tissue in the body decreases, which, in turn, can result in reduced amounts of circulating estrogen. Physicians recommend getting moderate exercise, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes a day.
- Adopt a Healthy Diet
Foods high in fat can have a significant effect on our hormones, and high-fat diets can increase the amount of estrogen in the bloodstream. Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends the following dietary guidelines for individuals who are undergoing or have completed breast cancer treatment:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Increase the amount of fiber you eat
- Avoid foods that contain trans fat
- When possible, choose organic food
- Aim for two to three servings of fish per week
- Minimize red meat consumption
- Limit exposure to pesticides
- Reduce and/or Limit Alcohol Intake and Quit Smoking
Researchers have shown a significant correlation between alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and estrogen levels. Women who consumed high amounts of alcohol were found to have higher levels of estrogen than women who consumed alcohol moderately or not at all. Additionally, women who smoked often were also noted to have more circulating estrogen than women who were not smokers.
- Lose Weight and/or Maintain a Healthy Weight
Women who are overweight or obese may have an increased risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer returning. Because fat cells make estrogen, slimming down can help reduce the amount of estrogen produced in your body. Additionally, when diet and exercise are implemented together, women experience greater weight loss than with diet or exercise alone.
Want to Learn More About Your Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence?
If you have recently completed breast cancer treatment and have questions about how you can reduce your risk of recurrence, talk to your doctor. .