Q:

There's a history of breast cancer in my family. Are there any preventative measures I can take to decrease my risk, and how often should I get checked out?

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Answers (15)

EXPERT
Mandi Beman, M.D. (Obstetrician/Gynecologist) answered

Breast cancer is the most common female cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in women in the United States (behind lung cancer). Knowing your risk of breast cancer and what you can do to decrease it is extremely important. There are many different factors to consider when determining your risk, including whether or not breast cancer runs in your family.

If breast cancer runs in your family, you should tell your doctor. You will need to provide your doctor with information on which relatives had breast cancer, how old they were when they were diagnosed and if there are histories of any other types of cancers in your family. Your doctor will also ask you questions about your lifestyle, diet, medications and reproductive history to help determine your risk and what type of follow-up you need. For example, some women at high risk for breast cancer start having mammograms as early as age 25.

It's also important to know that family history is not the only thing that can influence your risk of breast cancer. In fact, only about five to six percent of breast cancers are due to genetic factors.

While you can't change your family history, there are things that can decrease your risk of breast cancer, including:

- Regular exercise
- Healthy body weight
- Low-fat diet
- Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake
- Limited alcohol intake
- Pregnancy
- Breastfeeding

Another important thing you can do is to follow your doctor's recommendation for screening. While most women do not need a mammogram until age 40, if your doctor recommends a mammogram, then get one!

 

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EXPERT
Jim Vigue commented
Take a look at this brochure from Grassroots Health:http://www.grassrootshealth.net/media/download/daction_cancer.pdf
EXPERT
Jim Vigue (Ph.D. Holistic Medicine) answered
Invariably breast cancer victims have low levels of vitamin D. You should have a vitamin D blood test with your regular blood work or you could order a finger prick test from the Vitamin D Research Council. I think they cost around $60. If you level is under 50 I would supplement to get your level to over 50.If I supplement I would want to take a product that had both vitamin D and vitamin K in it.
If cancer runs in the family I would probably also recommend a good curcumin product and some green tea extract.
I am not real big on mammograms and some doctors I have spoken with are very high on breast thermography which throws off no radiation and claims a very high accuracy level.
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EXPERT
Pamela Warren, MS, CHN (Certified Holistic & Clinical Nutritionist) answered
All the above are wonderful answers. I have worked with women breast cancer survivors for 5 years and am the Director of Nutrition Services for a wonderful organization in NYC called, You Can Thrive! Foundation.

Here on the East coast we have found an overwhelming number of women being diagnosed with breast cancer that are residents of Long Island. We now know that this is likely caused by chemical pollutants in the soil and water.

Here are just 4 of the 10 important things you should do on a daily basis:

1- One of the most important things is the purity of the water you drink. Water is one of the most important nutrients in our diet. Make sure you drink an adequate amount each day...and this means water alone, not tea, not seltzer, etc. Use either bottled water or filter your own water using a Brita or similar filter.

2- Be conscious of the quality of the meats and other protein foods you consume from animal sources.  
A- Very important to find not only "organic", but grass fed and grass finished beef.
B- Consume lamb as it's processed in a more pure way than regular cattle for beef.
C- Consume only organic milk - from grass fed cows.
D- Look for wild caught fish,  do not eat the industrial, fish farmed salmon and tilapia.

3- Realize that what you put on your body gets absorbed into your body and will inevitably end up in your fat stores. Fat stores are predominantly what make up our breasts. Use creams and lotions without parabins, and with the least amount of chemicals. 



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bailey2005 commented
I am now 34 and I did not start doing any of the things suggested by the experts who commented here until I was 30. What about all the damage done between 0 and 30. Can I redeem myself?
EXPERT
Melicia Escobar, MSN, CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) answered
Great response, Mandi! Think it is really important that women understand that genetics aren't the only link to breast cancer. As a midwife, I'm psyched to see you include breastfeeding in your list of things that decrease risk;) Though there is research to suggest that self breast exams are not worth it (see the US Preventative Task Force site for more on this), I think that a solid routine breast self exam (in conjunction with routine gyn care) can help women familiar themselves with their own personal normal and then any changes. Changes include not only the lumps and bumps, but also changes to the skin.
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EXPERT
Bob Smithing, MSN, NP, FAANP (Family Nurse Practitioner) answered
All good answers and while I agree environment plays a big role so do genetics. Ask your nurse practitioner about the possibility of genetic testing looking at cancer risk. Bring a list of all the cancers and who had them to your visit. More info can be found at https://www.myriad.com/ We started doing the genetic testing in the office and have found people are very interested in it. If you do have one of the identified cancer genes your risk is considerably higher than those who do not. Good luck!
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EXPERT
Dr. Charles Bollmann, M.D. (Ob/Gyn, Fellow Amer. Academy Cosmetic Surgery, Founding Member Amer. Holistic Medical Assn.) answered
People get confused about breast cancer in the family. It is only immediate female members that matter - mother, daughter, sister. So many women worry for nothing.

If you have an immediate family member with breast cancer (see above), then you have only about a 10% increase over the general population for getting breast cancer.

Early detection for breast cancer is very important. Cure rates can be 99% when breast cancer is detected early. I advise a screening mammogram at age 35, then once a year starting at 40. The X-ray and other involved societies differ in mammogram frequency. And other tests are available. By the way, it is important to remember where you had the screening mammogram - the reason this is done is to compare it to later mammograms, and it is of no value if you can't get it to the latest radiologist.

Unfortunately, breast exams have not been as productive as we have hoped. By the time a lump is felt, it is usually over 1 cm in size. And 95% of the time, it is the woman who finds it, not the doctor.

And with a strong family history, or members of the family with ovarian cancer, then testing for the BRCA gene is important. Many people want to get this done anyway, but cost for this test is over $3000 and not covered by insurance unless there is a strong family history. (Angelina Jolie just said she had a bilateral mastectomy because she had this gene). Studies show the incidence of breast or ovarian cancer in the presence of the BRCA gene can be as high as 78%
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toughasdaisies answered
Have you read The China Study? It's a really interesting book that discusses diets role in relation to diseases, especially cancers. I would strongly recommend it.

http://www.thechinastudy.com/
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EXPERT
Dr. Charles Bollmann, M.D. commented
Thanks.
AveryNorris answered



Yes women with a family history of breast cancer remain in risk of developing disease at any stage of life. Certainly you have to go for frequent screening to evaluate the condition. Screening might include monthly breast self-exam, or a mammogram to detect cancer early. Even your doctors might suggest breast MRI and ultrasound; all these processes are performed in lab with the help of devices made by medical companies present at http://www.ilexmedical.com/brands.php?act=cat . However, to lower the risk of developing breast cancer, you can make several lifestyle changes like gain a healthy weight, do exercise regularly, avoid alcohol, eat nutritious food and quit smoking.
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jemy1111 answered
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jemy1111 answered
Hello friends, I'm Jeremy Micheal from USA. I want to share my testimony and how grateful I am since my lover came back to me because of the great help from a powerful spell caster DR. SAM whose email address is [ miraclefertilitysolutiontemple@yahoo.com ] rendered to me. My girlfriend broke up with me on the first week of October last year because she thought I was cheating on her, she told me that her friends has been telling her that I have been seeing someone else when she is not around. I tried to make her understand that her friends are lying to her but she did not give me the chance to explain to her this was how she left me. After a month of our breakup I tried to live a normal life without her but it was very hard for me to cope then I decided to contact DR. SAM after seeing several testimonies about his work every single blog I log into via his email address miraclefertilitysolutiontemple@yahoo.com which I came across on January 2nd 2016 during my search looking for help on how to get my lover back. DR. SAM then cast a love spell for me and made my lover to come back to me within the period of 48 hours. With this great joy in my heart I want to say a big thanks to DR. SAM. If any one needs such help don’t wait all life time to get help in getting back your lover contact DR. SAM now on his personal email : miraclefertilitysolutiontempl1@gmail.com or miraclefertilitysolutiontemple@yahoo.com or through his website: http://miraclefertilityso.wix.com/dr-sam You can also contact him through his mobile: +2348110496031, Contact him now for love spell to bring back your ex lover and pregnancy spell he is the best spell caster and he is the best solution to all relationship problems....
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GiselleJacob answered
Cancer is the most heart threatening disease with the ultimate fact that one day it will definitely end up your life. Even after knowing this truth cancer patient fight against the same with full enthusiasm and zeal. Your confidence along with the medication has the strength to empower you to defend yourself. You can also refer to cancer help line like https://www.regionalbikurcholim.org/ to take some precautionary steps against it.
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mariaalexander answered


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shirley127 answered
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shirley127 answered
Hello I am Shirley Morris ,I am out here to spread this good news to the entire world on how I got my ex husband back.I was going crazy when my husband left me and my two kids for another woman last month, But when i met a friend that introduced me to Dr Keke Odin  the great messenger to the oracle of Great Keke Spell Temple. I narrated my problem to Dr Keke Odin about how my ex Husband left me and my two kids and also how i needed to get a job in a very big company.He only said to me that i have come to the right place were i will be getting my heart desire without any side effect.He told me what i need to do,After it was been done,24 hours later, My Ex Husband called me on the phone and was saying sorry for living me and the kids before now and one week after my Husband called me to be pleading for forgiveness,I was called for interview in a very big company here in USA were i needed to work as the managing director.. you can contact Dr Keke Odin through the following mean
Email: greatkekespelltemple@gmail.com
Mobile Number: +1 386-336-9876
website: http://greatkekespelltemple01.webs.com
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Queen Brown answered
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