Tag Archives: Breast Cancer

You Can Take Steps to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

Fear of breast cancer is widespread, yet many women don’t realize that adopting protective living habits may help keep it at bay. The habits described below may also help to ward off other life-threatening ills, like heart disease and diabetes.

Certainly, women have ample reason to worry about breast cancer. The disease is very common. One woman in eight in the United States will develop it in the course of a lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed, and 40,610 women will die from the disease.

Regular screening is touted as the most effective way to reduce breast cancer deaths, although experts continue to debate who should be screened, how often and at what ages. But not nearly enough is said about what women can do on their own to lower their risk of getting breast cancer in the first place.

One of the most important actions is an inaction: not smoking. The incidence of smoking has fallen significantly in the last half century, yet every day on the streets of New York I still see young women and teenage girls smoking. A decades-long study conducted among 102,098 women in Norway and Sweden found that, compared with nonsmokers, those who smoked 10 or more cigarettes a day for 20 or more years had a third higher risk of developing invasive breast cancer, and girls who started smoking before age 15 were nearly 50 percent more likely to get breast cancer.

An editorial in The Journal of Clinical Oncology last year stated that as many as 20,000 women in the United States continue to smoke even after a diagnosis of breast cancer. The authors, Dr. Barbara A. Parker and John P. Pierce of the University of California, San Diego, said breast cancer patients who quit smoking can add significantly to the benefits of postoperative chemotherapy and radiation.

Another important factor under personal control is weight. As body mass index, or B.M.I., rises, so does a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, especially if she carries much of her excess weight around her waist. That’s because abdominal fat is particularly metabolically active, producing growth factors and hormones, including estrogen, that can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.

To read the full story, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

 

Task force: Mammograms an option at 40, do more good at 50

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s newest breast cancer screening guidelines reaffirm their 2009 recommendations that drew the ire of leading medical organizations.

The government task force’s guidelines, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday, again recommend routine mammograms once every two years for women between the ages of 50 and 74 at average risk for breast cancer. Forty-something women could begin biennial screenings if they choose, the task force said, finding the tests at that age held a “small net benefit.”

The independent panel found “insufficient” evidence to determine the harms and benefits of mammograms for women 75 and older.

Women in their 60s are the most likely to avoid dying from breast cancer thanks to mammograms, but there’s clearly enough benefit for the average woman to start at 50, the task force found.

Patient advocacy and medical groups have decried those recommendations since they were first made nearly seven years ago, believing they could discourage younger women from getting screened.

To read the full story, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Breast Cancer Resources

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go and need your help!

Here are some great resources:

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Breast Pain? It Could be Something Else

You Can Thrive New York

The Pink Fund

Mesothelioma Cancer Center

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary