In 2013 an estimated 23,800 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

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5,000 will die from it. Eight of every 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

With a clear indication of the impact lifestyle plays Dr. Jennifer Pearlman MD, CCFP, NCMP, FAARM, a women’s health and wellness expert, gives us tips to embrace at various points in our lives to reduce our chances of developing breast cancer.

20s

• Stop Smoking! Early smokers and smoking for longer is linked with a 50 per cent increased risk.

• Indulge in cruciferious vegetables, such as kale, bok choy and broccoli that enhance your estrogen metabolism and reduce health issues related to hormone imbalances.

• Limit exposure to toxins by eating organic veggies and keeping fish intake to less than three times a week.

30s

• Pregnancy and breastfeeding protect the breasts and are both linked with a lower risk of breast cancer.

• Avoid using skin- and hair-care products with parabens and other hormone disruptors.

40s

• Shape changes often begin now. Being overweight is a predictor of breast cancer.

• Learn stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, as diagnoses often follow stressful events. At this age we balance aging parents, raising children, career demands and possible relationship strains.

50s

• Consult a medical doctor about considering hormone therapy. Bioidentical estrogen and progesterone are safe to the breast when given at menopause.

• Participate regularly in breast cancer screening with breast examinations and mammograms.