Lifestyle Factors and Breast Cancer

On this page we cover:


A note on terms:

Everyone has breast tissue and people of all genders can get breast cancer. To be clear and consistent, we use the word ‘breasts’ in our health information, rather than boobs, pecs or chest. When we say breasts, we mean the tissue from your rib cage up to your collarbone and armpits, including your nipples.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

We know the advice on reducing cancer risk can be confusing – so here is our advice for keeping healthy and reducing your risk of breast cancer:

  • Keep active and enjoy yourself! Try to move your body and be physically active every day. Do 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity 3 times a week. This could be riding a bike, jogging or dancing. (If you are disabled the NHS has advice for you here. If you are pregnant the NHS has advice for you here.)
  • Cut back on alcohol. Check out our information on alcohol below and the advice from Drinkaware on reducing your alcohol intake.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Check out the NHS’ EatWell guide and eat 5 servings of fruit and veg a day. Don’t deprive yourself and don’t eat too much of the same foods. Enjoy trying new food and mix it up!
  • Drink plenty of water – aim for 6-8 glasses a day.
  • If you are concerned about your body fat, talk to your GP.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking tobacco is the main cause of preventable death around the world. The good news: it is never too late to quit. Stopping smoking is one of the best ways you can improve your health and hugely reduce your risk of cancer. You can do it. The NHS has the advice you need here.
  • Get to know your breast tissue (boobs, pecs or chest) and check them regularly!

For more detailed information about how lifestyle factors affect your risk of breast cancer, Cancer Research UK has more information here.

This information was published in April 2021. We will revise it in 2024.


Contraception and Breast Cancer

Hormonal contraception has benefits for lots of people. But hormonal contraception also has a small link to breast cancer, and in some cases it can slightly increase the risk. You can read more information by clicking below.

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