News: October 2021 - Breast Cancer Awareness Month


1. Death Rates have been steady in women under 50 since 2007 but have continued to drop in women over 50.  The overall death rate from breast cancer decreased by 1% per year from 2013 to 2018.  These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through screening.

2. Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer among American women.  In 2021, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.

3. Breast cancer became the most common cancer globally as of 2021, accounting for 12% of all new cancer cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

4. 12% or about 12 out of every 100 can expect to develop breast cancer over the course of an entire lifetime.  In the US, an average lifetime is about 80 years.  1 in 8 women in the US who reaches 80 can expect to develop breast cancer.

Risk Factors You Control:

1. Weight:  Being overweight is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, especially for women after menopause. Fat tissue is the body’s main source of estrogen after menopause, when the ovaries stop producing the hormone. Having more fat tissue means having higher estrogen levels, which can increase breast cancer risk.

2. Diet: Studies are looking at the relationship between diet and breast cancer risk and the risk of recurrence. The Women's Health Initiative Trial suggested that a diet very low in fat may reduce the risk of breast cancer. More research is needed in this important area for women who are interested in eating well to reduce their risk of ever getting breast cancer.

In the meantime, here's what dietitians suggest:

· Keep your body weight in a healthy range for your height and frame. Body mass index, though not a perfect measurement, can help you estimate your healthy weight.

· Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit (more than 5 cups a day).

· Try to limit your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total calories per day and limit your fat intake to about 30 grams per day.

· Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.

· Avoid trans fats, processed meats, and charred or smoked foods.

You'll find that processed foods generally don't fit in this type of diet as well as fresh foods do.  

 3Exercise: Evidence is growing that exercise can reduce breast cancer risk. The American Cancer Society recommends engaging in 45-60 minutes of physical exercise 5 or more days a week.

 4Alcohol consumption:  Studies have shown that breast cancer risk increases with the amount of alcohol a woman drinks. Alcohol can limit your liver’s ability to control blood levels of the hormone estrogen, which in turn can increase risk.

 5Smoking:  Smoking is associated with a small increase in breast cancer risk.

 6Exposure to estrogen: Because the female hormone estrogen stimulates breast cell growth, exposure to estrogen over long periods of time, without any breaks, can increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of these risk factors are under your control, such as:

· taking combined hormone replacement therapy (estrogen and progesterone; HRT) for several years or more, or taking estrogen alone for more than 10 years

· being overweight

· regularly drinking alcohol

7. Recent oral contraceptive use: Using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) appears to slightly increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer, but only for a limited period. Women who stopped using oral contraceptives more than 10 years ago do not appear to have any increased breast cancer risk.

8. Stress and anxiety: There is no clear proof that stress and anxiety can increase breast cancer risk. However, anything you can do to reduce your stress and to enhance your comfort, joy, and satisfaction can have a major effect on your quality of life. So-called “mindful measures” (such as meditation, yoga, visualization exercises, and prayer) may be valuable additions to your daily or weekly routine. Some research suggests that these practices can strengthen the immune system.