During October, Body & Brain centers are focusing on breast cancer, the second most common cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer death among women of all races and ethnicities in the United States. You’ve heard the advice, now here is an easy to understand look at why heeding the recommendations can affect your risk of developing breast cancer during your lifetime:
Women who exercise four or more hours a week have a lower risk of breast cancer:
High levels of certain hormones circulating in your body can increase your cancer risk. Regular activity can help prevent cancer by helping to keep hormone levels healthy as well as help control weight, strengthen your immune system and aid digestion. Build more activity into your daily routine and limit sedentary habits like watching television and too much time at the computer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Women who exercise four or more hours a week have a lower risk of breast cancer. The effect of exercise on breast cancer risk may be greatest in premenopausal women who have normal or low body weight.”
Excess fat around the waistline is strongly linked to breast cancer:
Scientists now know the excess fat you may carry around your waist releases estrogen into the bloodstream and raises the level of other hormones in your body. These higher levels of hormones are strongly linked to breast cancer in postmenopausal women as well as to other cancers.
Consumption of processed meats is linked to developing cancer:
Processed foods such as bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, cold cuts, hot dogs and sausage are preserved by smoking, curing or salting. During processing of these foods, cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) can be formed. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, “These substances can damage cells in the body, leading to the development of cancer.”
Mediterranean diet with healthy fats may help prevent breast cancer:
A new study by Spanish researchers suggests a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Adding an extra 4 tablespoons of the healthy oil to the Mediterranean Diet showed benefit over the low fat diet typically recommended. Although we are often advised to eat a healthy diet, until now there has been no conclusive evidence that diet plays a part in our risk of developing breast cancer.
The Abstract for the study, as published on the JAMA Internal Medicine website states, “This is the first randomized trial finding an effect of a long-term dietary intervention on breast cancer incidence. Our results suggest a beneficial effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil in the primary prevention of breast cancer. These results come from a secondary analysis of a previous trial and are based on few incident cases and, therefore, need to be confirmed in longer-term and larger studies.”
New Gene Panel Test helps determine most effective treatment for breast cancer patients:
The most exciting up to date news on treating breast cancer comes from a major study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. An article published September 27, 2015 in The New England Journal of Medicine reveals the value of a ‘gene-activity test’ which helps identify those patients whose breast cancer can be adequately treated with hormone therapy alone, safely avoiding adjuvant chemotherapy.
Jo Anne Zujewski, M.D., of National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) states, “We eagerly await the results for all women in the study with the goal of only treating women for their specific type of breast cancer and sparing them the side effects of unnecessary treatments.”