Breast Cancer – Are You At Risk?
Did you know that most breast cancers AREN’T inherited — only about 5% to 10% are? It’s great news because it means there are many things you can do to lower your risk of being diagnosed. Some of the factors associated with breast cancer can’t be changed but others can be. Let’s look at some of the important factors and how you can make empowering choices that could keep you healthy and cancer-free.
GENDER – is actually the biggest risk factor mostly because breast cells are very responsive to estrogen and other hormones, including environmental hormone disruptors. Studies show there are about 190,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 60,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer this year in American women. While men do develop breast cancer, less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases occur in men.
The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older. We are living longer; there are more opportunities for genetic damage (mutations) in the body. As we age, our bodies are less capable of repairing genetic damage.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help decrease your risk factor. Simply put – fat cells make estrogen and extra fat cells mean more estrogen which can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers develop and grow. Having a BMI or body mass index under 25 is crucial to preventing breast cancer, as well as some other lifestyle diseases.
- DIET is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers and while no food or diet can prevent some women from getting cancer, making your body the healthiest it can be through whole foods, is extremely important. Boosting the immune system and maintaining high alkalinity is key to keeping cancer at bay. Food grown without pesticides may protect against unhealthy cell changes associated with pesticide use that is often found in the system of some breast cancer patients.
- EXERCISE is last but not least. Regular aerobic exercise is important for breast as well as colon cancer prevention. Studies have shown that women who exercise at moderate to vigorous levels for three or more hours per week reduce their risk of getting breast cancer by 30 percent to 40 percent. That’s about as much reduction in risk as provided by the drug tamoxifen, but without the side effects.
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