Breast cancer may be the leading cause of death for women, but unfortunately, we have yet to discover what causes it in the first place. The food that we eat, the habits that we have, and the area in which we live in only serve to heighten the risk. Then again, perhaps knowing that much is enough for now. At the launch of Avon’s Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer campaign, Dr. Rachel Rosario, Executive Director of the Philippine Cancer Society, shared a couple of breast cancer preventive measures:

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1. Steer clear of fast food.
Back in the day, Filipinos ate more vegetable and fish; it was primarily a very Asian diet. “Everything was just nilaga and now we have, with our western diet now, there's fast food, there are fats in the diet,” says Dr. Rosario.

2. Exercise more.
Along with our westernized tastes came a more urbanized community. “We ride more rather than walk, so we need to exercise more,” she says. A study published in the journal Cancer reveals that women who exercised lowered their risk of developing breast cancer by 6 percent compared with those who didn’t. The effects were also more apparent in women who had kids and worked out for 10 to 19 hours per week.

3. Have more children.
Interestingly, Dr. Rosario says that women who bear more kids may be less likely to develop breast cancer. In addition, study shows that moms who breast-feed each of their kids for a year may prevent 5,000 breast cancer cases yearly!

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4. See your doctor for a check-up.
If you don’t have time to drop by your doctor, you should at least give yourself a self-examination every time you’re in the shower. Feel around for any suspicious bumps; follow this cute tutorial here.

5. Get a mastectomy.
If you have the mutated gene BRCA1, you can also get a prophylactic mastectomy just like Angelina Jolie, but according to Dr. Rachel, “You have to weigh your chances of getting it, and you also have to weigh what happens afterward because you will drastically decrease your chances of getting breast cancer by around 80 percent so you'll have the same risk as the rest of the population. It's not like after you get the operation, there's zero risk. There's still a very very small chance.”

(Photo by Jennie Ivins via Flickr Creative Commons)

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