Each year in the United States, 40,000 women die of breast cancer, making it the second leading cause of cancer death among females. Could this be prevented? While there is no guarantee that you can avoid being diagnosed with breast cancer, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk. The easiest are lifestyle changes, like exercising, which you should aim to do 30 minutes daily. Some studies show that aerobic exercisers might be half as likely as non-exercisers to get breast cancer. Diets high in fat have also been linked to the disease, so it's smart to limit fats to less than 35% of your daily diet. Similarly, eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. These foods are rich in antioxidants, agents that help reduce the number of potentially cancer-causing free radicals in your body. It's even smart to limit alcohol in your diet, as drinking seems to increase the odds of developing breast cancer. Plus, all of these measures help you maintain a healthy weight, which is vital, since there has been a very clear link between breast cancer and obesity. Talk to your doctor, but another way to reduce your risk is to avoid hormone replacement therapy as a menopause treatment. That's because long-term treatment with estrogen and progestin hormones has been shown to increase breast cancer risk. It's suspected that these hormones encourage cells to divide rapidly in the body, and it is during errors in cell division that cancer begins. There is even some debate that hormonal birth control could increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer. The research is conflicting however, so talk to your doctor before writing off your favorite contraception. Two prescription drugs, Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, are also available for women with a very high risk of breast cancer. Both of these medications block estrogen from acting on cells, potentially preventing cancer from occurring. Tamoxifen and Raloxifene are also used as a safer form of hormone replacement for older women, and as a breast cancer treatment for estrogen-sensitive cancers. Remember, though, that there is no better breast cancer prevention than awareness! Be cognizant of any changes in your breasts, and make a point to get regular mammograms starting between ages 40 to 50. These screening methods can ensure that breast cancer is detected early, thereby pushing survival rates as high as 98%! To learn more about breast cancer, check out the breast cancer series on this site and have a conversation with your doctor.