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Women's Health Blog

Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

Breast cancer is the number one - most diagnosed - cancer in women, with lung cancer being second. The risk factors for developing breast cancer are diverse, with only a few being related to genetics.

Less than 15 percent of breast cancer patients can point to a family member who also had breast cancer – meaning a mother, sister, or aunt had breast cancer. Only 5 to 10 percent actually have a genetic link (BRCA gene) for risk of developing the disease. That means about 60 to 80 percent of all breast cancers have NO family history origin.

We know that certain risk factors are associated with developing breast cancer:  A genetic mutation, high estrogen environment, previous radiation to the chest and previous history of breast cancer. Unfortunately, we don’t know enough about the disease to identify distinct risk factors.


Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

Having said that, there are behavioral modifications that can help decrease one’s risk.  First and foremost, control your exposure to estrogen whether it be medication, herbals or obesity. A lot of myths are associated with breast cancer such as deodorant use, exposure to cellular phone towers, underwire bras and frequent mammograms cause breast cancer. ALL of which are false!

My recommendations to patients wanting to decrease their risk of breast cancer is to develop a healthy lifestyle, exercise, and keep an ideal body weight. Individuals that are obese have more circulating estrogens in their body, so decreasing the fatty tissue will decrease the estrogen level.

Between 60 percent and 80 percent of breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen and grow when exposed to the hormone.

In addition, you should:

  • Limit alcohol and cigarette exposure.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat a balanced diet.

The goal is to have your body in optimal condition. Sure, healthy individuals get cancer, but decreasing risk factors and environmental exposures can only help.  The research and molecular make-up of breast cancers is expanding on a daily basis.