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
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!
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.
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.
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%