A report released this week suggests that women may be able to reduce their chances of developing breast cancer by avoiding environmental factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, hormone therapy, and unnecessary medical radiation.

Although breast cancer risk related to genetics or aging can’t be controlled, there are some behaviors that women can change to reduce their risk. Specific details are available in the The Institute of Medicine’s report, “Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach.”

Environmental factors women should avoid include:

  • Hormone therapy that combines estrogen and progestin
  • Radiation from computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Excess body weight after menopause
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking tobacco

The use of hair dyes and exposure to radiation from microwave ovens and mobile phones did not appear to increase the risk for breast cancer. furthermore, increased exercise and physical activity may decrease the risk.