Studies show that 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) with breast cancer. Approximately 15% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a family member who has been diagnosed with it as well. If you have a family history of breast cancer, we encourage you to discuss this with one of our providers so we can determine if you are a candidate for genetic testing to look for hereditary DNA mutations that may increase your cancer risk.
Our office offers Myriad MyRisk genetic testing for patients who have a family history of cancer.
About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who do NOT have a family history of breast cancer.
We recommend you perform a monthly self-breast exam, have a clinical breast exam annually with your healthcare provider, and an annual mammogram starting at age 40. If you have silicone breast implants, you also need a breast MRI every 3 years. When breast cancer is detected early, in the localized stage and before symptoms develop, the 5 year survival rate is approximately 98%. Early detection is best accomplished through following the above recommendations, specifically a yearly mammogram starting at age 40.
Following these stops will help you reduce your risk of developing breast cancer:
- Eat a healthy diet, specifically rich in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, brussel sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, and watercress. These veggies naturally contain Indole-3-Carbinol and Diindolylmethane which promote healthy estrogen metabolism and can enhance anti-oxidant activity, which may help to decrease breast cancer risk. For those of you who do not like cruciferous veggies, the benefits can be achieved through the supplement EstroDim available at our office.
- Choose organic and hormone-free meat, milk, eggs and produce. Making this choice will reduce your exposure to unwanted pesticides and hormones, and improve the nutritional content of your food.
- Avoid excess sugar: Sugar is everywhere! Bread, rice, pasta and packaged foods contain high fructose corn syrup or other refined sugars. Elevated blood sugar and insulin levels leads to obesity, which increases your estrogen level. This in turn increases your risk of breast cancer. Kicking a sugar habit is hard, we invite you to meet with our certified Wellness Coaches to explore if a “detox” to get sugar out of your diet is right for you.
- Exercise on a regular basis – 3 to 5 hours of exercise a week helps to maintain body weight, prevent insulin resistance and decrease risk of breast cancer.
- Get adequate sleep – 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is the typical recommendation. Anything less can increase risk of disease, including breast cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight. In postmenopausal women, the #1 risk factor for breast cancer is having a high percentage of body fat. We know how hard it is to lose weight, this is why we take a comprehensive approach. If you haven’t visited before, make an appointment with one of our Wellness Coaches to determine your percentage of body fat through BIA testing.
- Reduce Toxic Exposure. “Endocrine disruptors” are chemicals found in everyday products that can disrupt normal breast development, induce early puberty, and increase breast cancer risk. Among the most common are BPA, phthalates, Triclosan, and parabens. Start reading your labels! For a complete list of potential toxins visit breastcancerfund.org.BIA testing through our Wellness Coaches can also determine your measure of body toxicity. Metabolic detoxification is recommended 1 to 2 times a year to eliminate toxins from our body.
- Optimize Vitamin D – 90% of ordinary breast cancers may be related to Vitamin D deficiency. Most people in Ohio, given our northern latitude, need a minimum of 1,000 to 5,000IU of Vitamin D daily, see our providers to have your level measured.
- Take a Probiotic daily. Having a healthy gut will strengthen your immune system, help with digestion and estrogen detoxification. We recommend a probiotic with 20 billion colonies daily.
- Avoid excess alcohol. For women this is limiting your alcoholic intake to no more than 1 drink per day and no more than 5 per week.
- Consider Testosterone pellets. Data suggests that testosterone implanted under the skin every 3 to 4 months will ease menopausal symptoms without increasing risk of breast cancer.