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10 Things You Don't Know About Your Breasts But Really Should

They're talked about all the time, but not always in the right way. Breast health is crucial -- make sure you know how to effectively reduce your risk for breast cancer. Breasthealth.org is here to help.

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1. Breastfeeding actually reduces your risk for breast cancer, among other benefits.

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Not only has breastfeeding been reported to strengthen the bond between mom and baby, it also has medical benefits: Studies show that it can lower breast cancer risk by up to 20%. It's especially effective if you breastfeed for over a year.

3. Your breasts are still developing far past puberty.

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It's a common misconception that our breasts begin and end their growth during puberty. However, the average pair of breasts continue to develop until around age 25, and they're not considered "mature" until your first full-term pregnancy when they start to produce milk.

4. Vitamin D is very good for your breasts!

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Time to get some sun! Vitamin D is helpful in regulating normal breast cell growth. There are also some studies which suggest an association between low levels of Vitamin D and a higher risk of breast cancer.

5. Birth control doesn't reduce your risk for breast cancer.

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Although it can be effective in reducing risk for ovarian cancer, birth control can actually increase your risk for breast cancer. This is because of the high amount of estrogen promoted by birth control. Consider looking into other forms of birth control than the pill!

6. But exercising and eating well does.

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Exercising and eating whole foods can reduce your risk for breast cancer! Women at a healthy weight are much less likely to develop breast cancer than overweight and obese women, especially after menopause.

7. You are much more at risk for breast cancer if one or more of your blood relatives has had it.

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If you have blood relatives on either your mother or father's side who were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50, then you're far more likely to have an abnormal breast cancer gene -- though, that doesn't always mean you'll develop breast cancer.

8. But only 5–10% of breast cancer diagnoses are due to genetics.

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This is far less than many people think and is a stark reminder that, regardless of whether breast cancer runs in your family, you should be alert, aware, and have regular mammograms when the time comes.

9. Drinking fewer than four alcoholic beverages a week can reduce your breast cancer risk by 35%.

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Devastating, but true. According to experts, the risk of developing breast cancer increases around 10% for each additional drink women regularly have on a daily basis. This applies to beer, wine, and liquor. That means you'll have to drown your sorrows in a glass of water.

10. You don't need to stress out about wearing an underwire bra.

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Despite the many rumors, breast cancer is not caused by underwire bras -- or, at least, there is no science to indicate this is true. There's only been one study on the link between bras and breast cancer, and the results didn't show an increased risk.

All facts provided by Breasthealth.org.