Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits: Breast Cancer and Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Not counting some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer in the United States is— 
  • The most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity. 
  • The most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women. 
  • The second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women. 
In 2008 (the most recent year numbers are available)— 

One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Good news in breast cancer trends:  In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part to better due to screening and detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options (http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts).

Ways to reduce your risk (from the October issue of Shape Magazine):

  • Get 6+ hours of sleep - getting fewer may cause low grade inflammation, which may be linked to cancer.
  • The American Medical Association suggest women over 40 should have routine mammograms.
  • Drink 8 oz. of red wine daily - the antioxidants in red grapes may mimic the effects of estrogen-lowering drugs.
  • Use caution with CT scans - or any other ionizing radiation, which is the number one environmental factor linked to breast cancer.
  • Stay active - exercise is believed to boost the immune system and keep free radicals in check.

Other strategies include (from womenshealthmag.com):

  • Maintain healthy weight - being heavy can increase your risk of developing the disease as well as reduce your risk of surviving it. 
  • Eat more veggies - especially the cruciferous ones, such as broccoli and kale. They contain sulforaphane, which is believed to help prevent cancer cells from multiplying. 
Have an early detection plan!  Check out NationalBreastCancer.org for more information and to learn how to perform a breast self-exam.

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  1. Definitely not to take away from the women, but let's also remember that men get breast cancer as well. Not as often as women, but still several thousand a year, often overlooked.

  2. I don't think I realized it was now 1 in 8--I thought it was 9. Anyhow, it's sobering. I do like some of the steps for prevention, though--red wine!

  3. They provide resources and education, as well as offer members tips on how to cope. If you are thinking about organizing a cancer support group in your area, following some basic guidelines can help get the group off to a more successful start. Thanks.


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