Experts Reveal 10 Major Breast Cancer Risk Factors Women Should Know
As the human race continues the fight to completely be rid of cancer, experts are always on hand to give us more information.
Graham A. Colditz, DrPH, MD, MPH Breast Cancer Research Foundation Investigator and associate director of Prevention and Control at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University, shared some risk factors for breast cancer that we should know.
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1. Weight plays a role
According to Dr Colditz, weight gain increases the risk of breast cancer after menopause. He added that since the majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in postmenopausal women, maintaining a healthy weight is very important.
2. Get moving
When it comes to being healthy, exercise and eating right go hand in hand. The same can be said for the prevention of breast cancer. Dr Coltiz said that while it is not very clear how vigorous physical activities reduce the chances of developing cancer, it does help regulating some breast cancer-related hormones.
3. Your diet
Fruits and veggies can help keep breast cancer at bay according to a new study. Dr Colditz advised eating a diet based on grains and minimal animal protein.
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Recent studies have also shown that alcohol can have a negative effect on the body especially the breasts. Dr Colditz says consuming alcohol can increase the hormone levels. "Circulating hormone levels are directly related to breast cancer risk as they increase cell proliferation and tumour growth," the doctor explained.
5. The pill
The risk of getting breast cancer increases slightly when a woman is on pills. It was discovered that the risk goes away within five years of stopping.
6. Breastfeeding may be a blessing
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer. Women who nursed may have lower levels of the hormone called prolactin and a high prolactin level is a risk factor for breast cancer,
7. Family history
Your chances of having breast cancer increases if you have a lot of family members with cancer, one family member with different types of cancer, and breast cancer in the male members of your family. Dr Colditz says if this is the case, you may need to go for genetic testing or counselling for more info.
8. Your period
The more cycles you have over the course of your life, the greater your risk, Colditz says. He explained that the age at which you started your period and the age you stopped matters.
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When it comes to cancer, being pregnant is a benefit. Colditz explained, "after having a first baby, hormone levels are slightly modified, cells divide more slowly and have more time for repair of DNA damage."
10. Breast density
Women with high breast density are more likely to have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to those with lower density. This is not just because it makes it harder for mammograms to detect. Colditz said, "It is a measure of how much breast tissue and connective tissue are in the breast compared to how much fat tissue."
If any of the above points are a concern to you, it's important that you see your doctor for more information.
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