Primary Prevention and Breast Health

What you need to know

Primary prevention consists of a variety of approaches that help prevent/protect an individual from developing breast cancer. A growing body of evidence shows the link between healthy lifestyle choices and a lower risk of developing breast cancer.

According to these studies, excess body weight and physical inactivity deserve special attention, since they account for about one-third of all breast cancer cases. As a result, being active, eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining a normal body weight are three simple but crucial lifestyle choices.

Physical Activity

Physical activity for more than 30 minutes a day could reduce the risk of breast cancer by 20%, while sitting for long periods of time (e.g. lack of activity at work) may increase the risk. Do moderate exercise for at least 30-60 minutes a day. Remember that physical activity does not only mean sports, but also includes walking, gardening, activity in the workplace, housework, dancing, etc.

Avoidance of Obesity

Being overweight (Body Mass Index – BMI equal to or greater than 25) or obese (BMI equal to or greater than 30) may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer after menopause. Maintaining a healthy weight throughout our lives could reduce the risk of breast cancer after menopause by 50%.Maintain your figure at a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. How to calculate your Body Mass Index? BMI = weight in kilograms times height in meters squared.

Healthy Diet

Although relevant studies have not linked specific diets to the risk of breast cancer, a balanced diet is considered important. According to documented evidence, the Mediterranean diet has a protective effect, whereas, on the contrary, a high intake of highly processed foods may increase the risk. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily food choices and in the right amounts to maintain a healthy weight. Limit consumption of red meat and processed meats. Avoid eating foods and drinks with a high sugar content.


A link has been established between drinking any type of alcohol and an increased risk of breast cancer. Related studies show that stopping alcohol or reducing intake to less than 1 serving per day reduces the risk. Limit your alcohol intake. To prevent cancer, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol altogether.