Genetic mutations clearly elevate the risk of cancer, but they only account for 20 percent of all breast cancer. We could go a long way to eradicating the vast majority of breast cancer if women understood more about how their daily choices can impact the risk of developing breast cancer.

Lifestyle habits regarding nutrition, alcohol, exercise, weight, hormone replacement therapy and stress and environmental toxicities set the scene for wellness — or illness. It’s a personal choice. We have more control over this disease than we might think.

Pay attention to these tips

These tips come from “Breasts: The Owner’s Manual.” Paying attention to these steps will help reduce the cellular changes that lead to chronic illnesses — everything from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

  1. Eat plant-based meals. These release nutrients into the bloodstream and help boost immune function while suppressing disease-causing inflammation. Consume fruits and vegetables like broccoli, leafy greens, berries, legumes, lentils, beans and peas. Don’t forget healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, olives and flaxseeds.

  2. Avoid all meat. This includes red meat, chicken, turkey and fish. Also avoid dairy (milk, butter, cheese and eggs).

  3. Fat cells produce estrogen, and estrogen fuels 80 percent of all breast cancer. Get to your ideal body weight and stay there.

  4. Every week, get five hours of exercise (if you can talk while working out), or 2.5 hours (if you’re super sweaty and can’t carry a conversation).

  5. Drink three cups of green tea per day. A squeeze of lemon will boost the antioxidant power. Keep alcohol limited to one drink per day (and favor red wine). 

  6. Limit the impact of environmental exposures such as radiation, industrial emissions, pollutants, pesticides and synthetic compounds. Wash your hands frequently. Replace plastic with glass and steel, filter your water, hang detoxifying houseplants and choose organic household products, food and cosmetics when possible.

  7. De-stress. Pray, meditate, deep-breathe, do tai chi or yoga. Forgive others, be grateful and smile.

  8. Don’t smoke.

  9. Stay hormone-free. Consider herbs, acupuncture and exercise to alleviate menopause symptoms in an effort to avoid the estrogens in hormone replacement therapy.

  10. Finally, seek out positive, encouraging friends, family members and other social support networks.

Control the controllable in your life. Health comes from giving each area — spiritual, physical, emotional, relational — positive daily attention.