A healthy lifestyle combining nutrition and exercise can be beneficial in reducing breast cancer risks in some women.The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC ) reported in 2009 and 2010, more than one-third of adults in the United States were obese. With a definitive relationship established between increased body weight/weight gain and breast cancer among women, the benefits of regular exercise play an important role in the fight against breast cancer.
Battling weight to battle cancer
Unfortunately for women, weight gain causes not only a tighter waistband but also an increase in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. A recent studied by the Institute of Cancer Research reported that among women fighting breast cancer, obese women usually have higher estrogen levels than women who are not obese. Since many breast cancers need estrogen to grow, doctors tend use hormone-blocking treatments. Treatment may include a drug such as an aromatase inhibitor, which is a hormone-suppressing drug. It is possible however; weight loss through exercise and nutrition also may be beneficial when attempting to reduce estrogen levels in breast cancer patients and those at risk for breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) encourages regular, intentional physical activity or exercise to reduce the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Regular exercise also may reduce the risk of other diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. The ACS guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes (two and one-half hours) of moderately intense exercise/activity per week, 75 minutes (one hour and fifteen minutes) of vigorously intense exercise/activity per week or a combination of both moderate and vigorous exercise spread throughout a seven-day period.
Types of exercise
Women’s health and wellness routines must include some levels of exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, especially when fighting breast cancer. Incorporating moderate and even intense exercise into a daily routine doesn’t have to be costly or stressful.
Moderate exercise should raise your heart rate, cause you to sweat yet you should still be able to hold a conversation without gasping for breath. Inexpensive ways to exercise moderately include taking a brisk/fast walk through your neighborhood or local park, pushing a lawn mower or riding a bicycle.
Vigorous exercise makes you breathe harder and it may be difficult to hold a conversation while exercising. Examples include jogging, playing a game of basketball, soccer or tennis and swimming laps (not leisurely swimming, concentrated strokes to raise the heart rate.)
Gardening, playing with your kids and household chores such as vacuuming and mopping are other ways simply to get moving. Every time you get up and do something active, you are helping your overall health. Reducing sedimentary habits can help fight weight gain as well.
In addition, it’s important to remember to eat nutritionally balanced meals that do not exceed recommended daily caloric intake. If you’re not sure what your caloric intake should be, talk to your doctor. Before beginning any exercise routine it is important to talk first to your doctor to determine what is best for your health.
Written by: admin
Diet is perhaps the single largest controllable factor in a woman’s breast cancer risk. There are foods that increase your risk, and also foods that can significantly reduce it. By maintaining a healthy, varied diet rich in cancer-preventative foods, you are able to substantially cut your chances of breast cancer. Plus, eating a wide variety of nutritious foods is also part of a healthy lifestyle that goes beyond reducing cancer risk.
According to The American Cancer Society, a large number of women’s health studies have suggested that a diet low in animal fats can lead to lower rates of breast cancer. Cancer rates are lower in parts of the world where people eat less animal fat. Additionally, in tests on rodents, higher fat diets led to higher incidence of mammary cancers. Seek out low-fat protein options to keep your fat intake within recommended guidelines. For instance, opt for a lentil salad or vegetarian black bean chili for dinner. Try tilapia for an affordable, low-fat mild fish entree. Pick lean cuts when eating red meat, and take the skin off chicken. Preliminary studies seem to indicate that the younger you are when you adopt a low-fat diet, the more cancer protection it provides.
While no clear cause and effect has been established between eating fruit and vegetable and breast cancer risk reduction, it is well-known that eating plenty of vegetables is necessary for proper women’s nutrition. Vegetables are low in fat, but high in filling fiber. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Pick fruits and vegetables with colors through the rainbow to make sure you are getting a wide array of nutrients. Think yellow peppers, deep green kale, pale eggplant and vibrant red berries. Keeping cut veggies on the top shelf of your fridge makes them an easy snack.
One of the clearest dietary risks for cancer is alcohol consumption. Women who drink have a higher incidence of breast cancer than those who don’t. If you do imbibe, limit it to one alcoholic drink per day. This allows you to take advantage of the wellness benefits of beverages like red wine while limiting your cancer risk. Also, if you drink, be sure to consume plenty of folate-rich foods like fortified cereals and leafy greens. Although scientists don’t understand why, folate seems to help reduce cancer risk among women who drink.
Pursuing a healthy diet not only cuts down breast cancer risks, it helps reduce other health risk such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, a good diet leaves you feeling more energetic and provides a general sense of wellness. Commit to maintaining a healthy diet to cut your breast cancer risk and enjoy better health overall.
Written by: admin
A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately one in eight. In addition to following the early detection guidelines, there are habits women should pick up to protect themselves against increasing their risk of developing breast cancer.
The following tips for women are meant to help you protect your breast health while monitoring any changes . This way, problems can be caught early. Early detection has been shown to be a key factor in surviving a breast cancer diagnosis.
You’re In Your 20s
The habits you develop in your 20s can help reduce your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
- Get a clinical breast exam and become breast aware. A clinical breast exam is a physical breast exam performed by a medical professional. During your 20s, a clinical breast exam and discussion about your overall health and personal risk factors is a good way to take stock of what’s “normal” for you. The American Cancer Society recommends that women receive a clinical breast exam every three years in their 20s and 30s. Some doctors consider breast self-exams optional, but it’s a smart idea to be familiar with your breasts so that you will notice any small changes which you’ll want to bring to the attention of your doctor.
- Find out if you are high risk. If breast cancer runs in your family, you’ll want to discuss with your doctor a personal plan for understanding your risk. For example, you may want to consider being tested for the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene mutations, which are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Drink less alcohol. Dr. Anne McTiernan, the author of “Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” advocates no more than one drink per day. Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer. McTiernan notes that one drink a day does not mean you can abstain all week and drink a week’s worth of drinks on Saturday night.
- New moms should breastfeed for at least six months. Some studies suggest that breastfeeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, specifically for women who breast feed for one and a half to two years. A study released by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed breastfeeding six months or longer reduced breast cancer risk by 20 percent.
- Exercise and eat right! Exercising at least 30 minutes per day, whether it’s by walking, biking, jogging, dancing or any other physical activity can reduce your breast cancer risk by about 20 percent. Plus, it’s a habit that is good for your bones, joints, heart and overall health. Eating healthy means limiting your intake of red meat to four ounces per day on average and avoiding processed meats like sausage and bologna. In addition, the National Cancer Institute has for years recommended eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
You’re In Your 30s
Although breast cancer rates for women in their 30s are still pretty low, it’s time to start monitoring your breasts for changes. Cultivating breast health awareness is key in this decade. In addition to continuing the healthy habits you cultivated in your 20s, there are a few more things you can consider:
- Get a clinical breast exam and become breast aware. Continuing to receive clinical breast exams every three years while in your 30s is part of the American Cancer Society’s early detection guidelines.
- Evaluate your risk to determine a plan of action. Monitor your own breasts for changes and report any concerns to your doctor. If you’re in a high risk group due to family history, your doctor may want you to start getting annual mammograms or MRIs. Additionally, your doctor can
- Keep stress in check. A recent study in Israel of women under 45 found that exposure to several stressful life events, such as divorce or death of parents, was associated with breast cancer. Cultivating happiness and optimism boosts your natural defense against illness. Simply adopting a “don’t worry, be happy” mantra won’t protect you from cancer, but a positive outlook will help you stick to all the other good habits you’ve developed, contributing to an overall healthy lifestyle.
You’re In Your 40s
When you hit 40, you really need to start being vigilant about your health. At this point in life, breast cancer rates start to increase. In addition to limiting alcohol, eating right, exercising and limiting stress, remember to do the following:
- Schedule an annual mammogram and clinical exam. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older get a mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year. Also, stay familiar with your own breasts: If you notice any changes, tell your doctor about them immediately. Chances are good that any changes you notice, such as fibrocystic breast changes, are harmless, but it’s still essential to have anything new or unusual checked out.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to cancer-causing substances. This includes radiation and chemicals. Make sure that any physician who orders an x-ray for you, especially high dose types like CT scans, knows how many other xrays you’ve had. Unless it’s an emergency situation, you should ask if there are alternative examinations for your situation, such as an ultrasound or MRI. Your doctor will help you weigh the relative risk of momentary exposure to radiation versus not having an X-ray or CT scan that may be medically necessary. Scientists have identified over 200 potential breast carcinogens. Learn about them through the American Cancer Society’s analysis. Opt for foods and products containing mostly natural ingredients.
If You’re In Your 50s and Over
As menopause hits, the risk of developing breast cancer rises. The average age of a woman who receives a breast cancer diagnosis is 62, which is why women in their 60s need to be more vigilant than ever about breast health. Taking care of your health beginning at age 50 is critical to reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. In addition to continuing to receive annual mammograms, eating right and staying active, there are a few additional habits you can pick up to reduce your risk of a breast cancer diagnosis.
- Avoid alcohol as much as possible. A recent National Cancer Institute study of postmenopausal women found that women who had one to two small drinks a day were 32 percent more likely to develop the most common type of breast cancer. Women who had three drinks or more had as high as 51 percent increased risk.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. A healthy weight is a body mass index (BMI) of 25 percent or less. Research has shown that being overweight or obese (specifically in post menopausal women) increases your risk, even if you put the weight on as an adult. Additionally, overweight women had lower breast cancer survival rates and a greater chance of more aggressive disease than average weight or underweight women.
- Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Hormone replacement therapy definitely increases breast cancer risk, although for women with major menopausal issues, doctors at the Fred Hutchison Cancer recommend limited courses of HRT for no more than five years.
- Up your vitamin D intake. Although the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 IUs, some researchers think that higher levels – 1,000 IUs a day – is a convenient and low cost way to reduce breast cancer risk. To check your levels of vitamin D, ask your doctor for a blood test. He or she will help you determine if a supplement would be beneficial for you.
No matter what your age, the habits you develop to stay healthy also help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. While eating right, exercising and following the guidelines for early detection don’t guarantee that you won’t develop breast cancer, they are good habits to improve your life overall and limit unnecessary increases to your breast cancer risk.
Written by: admin
There is a link between environmental chemicals and breast cancer. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.
While there are several known risk factors for breast cancer – obesity, alcohol use and genetic factors to name a few – some risk factors are still being researched. Scientists are studying the connection between chemicals and breast cancer. Though many studies are inconclusive, there have been some important findings about everyday products and their relationship to breast cancer risk.
Women expose themselves to chemicals and toxins every day through products they put on their bodies, cleaners they use in and around the home, chemicals they breathe on the job, and even the foods they eat! Now, eating certain foods or cleaning the house is not going to be the sole reason a woman develops breast cancer, but chemicals may increase the risk of abnormal cell development, which may or may not result in cancer.
Prevention is all about making choices that reduce breast cancer risk. Let’s take a closer look at some everyday chemicals and how they relate to breast cancer.
Cigarette Smoke and Breast Cancer
A number of studies have examined the possible connection between smoking and breast cancer. While the majority of these studies have found that smoking is actually not a breast cancer cause and doesn’t increase risk, a few studies have identified a relationship between the two. In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, found that smoking was linked with not only breast cancer, but also a diagnosis of breast cancer at an unusually young age — younger than age 55. Both mainstream and secondhand smoke contain chemicals that, in high concentrations, cause breast cancer in rodents. Chemicals in tobacco smoke reach breast tissue and are found in breast milk. In any case, this possible link to breast cancer is yet another reason to avoid smoking and/or secondhand smoke.
BPA and Breast Cancer
Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is a chemical found in many plastic products, including baby bottles, nipples, and pacifiers. It’s already been established that BPA affects the endocrine system and hormones, and now studies are showing that BPA may also be associated with increased breast cancer risk. Research studies have shown that exposure to BPA in babies led to increased breast cell growth and some loss of normal cell death, which could allow abnormal cells to grow. As research continues to point to the harmful effects of BPA on humans, it’s best to avoid them. Many manufacturers have stopped using BPA. Look for plastics labeled “BPA-free” to limit your exposure to this dangerous chemical.
Pesticides and Breast Cancer
Many pesticides have properties similar to estrogen, which allows breast cancer cells to replicate rapidly and the disease to spread. It seems probable therefore that these chemicals could increase breast cancer risk, although studies have been unable to definitively prove the connection. One study showed that older women exposed to the pesticide DDT and similar compounds were slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than women who weren’t exposed. Researchers couldn’t conclude that the pesticides are a breast cancer cause, but they did find that continued exposure to pesticides along with other risk factors for breast cancer could increase the risk of developing the disease.
Parabens and Breast Cancer
Parabens are preservatives found in cosmetics, skin care products and antiperspirants. They have been linked to breast cancer because a small study cited by the American Cancer Society found parabens in breast cancer cells. The study could not prove that the parabens caused the cells to develop into tumors or whether other factors besides use of cosmetics could have led to the presence of parabens. Further study is needed to prove or rule out parabens as a possible risk factor or cause of breast cancer, and parabens are not considered a health risk at this time. Women seeking to limit parabens in their beauty routine should look for products labeled “paraben free.”
Even after decades of research, no one can definitively answer the question “What causes breast cancer?” Many of the studies being conducted regarding chemical exposure and breast cancer risk don’t have concrete answers yet. Prevention, simply put, is about limiting potential risk factors. Many of the chemicals listed are harmful in other ways, so limiting exposure to them is a good idea, even if the breast cancer link is in question. Furthermore, if you are at an increased risk of breast cancer based on known factors, you may want to take extra precaution to avoid being around these potentially toxic chemicals to protect yourself from breast cancer as much as possible.
Written by: admin
Expert Panel Issues Lymphedema White Paper: Calls for Early Detection and Intervention to Reduce Lymphedema Progression
Avon Foundation for Women-sponsored white paper reports latest lymphedema clinical advances that could benefit many of the 2.3 million U.S. breast cancer survivors
New York City, July 27, 2011 –
An expert panel issued a white paper examining new evidence that shows early detection and intervention hold the greatest promise for reducing breast cancer-related lymphedema, which affects up to one-third of the 180,000 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients annually and 2.3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. The Avon Foundation for Women, in partnership with the Lymphatic Research Foundation and the National Lymphedema Network, convened a group of leading scientists, clinicians and advocates in April 2011 to discuss recent advances in the early detection and early intervention of upper extremity lymphedema. The expert panel produced several recommendations, which are shared in a white paper released today, Recent Advances in Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema Detection and Treatment.
Written by: admin
The Women’s Breast Health Initiative Florida Affiliate (WBHI) will be taking its mission of promoting early detection and awareness to the streets again for the 2011 April Outreach Campaign Saturday mornings on April 9, April 16, and April 23.
Mar 30, 2011 – The Women’s Breast Health Initiative Florida Affiliate (WBHI) will be taking its mission of promoting early detection and awareness to the streets again for the 2011 April Outreach Campaign Saturday mornings on April 9, April 16, and April 23. The goal of WBHI is to reduce the incidence of undetected, untreated breast cancer by providing women in underserved neighborhoods with the appropriate awareness, education and screening.
WBHI volunteers will knock on the doors of households within the City of Miramar, delivering important breast health awareness packages, talking to residents, and making free mammogram appointments on the spot for women who qualify. On April 30, a mobile mammography van will visit the neighborhood and perform the screenings that were scheduled during the outreach. The organization plans to knock on a total of 10,000 doors this year.
WBHI believes that all women have the right to benefit from the early detection of breast cancer regardless of their ability to pay, and fights breast cancer as a life threatening disease, one household at a time. Since 2006 WBHI has knocked on more than 33,000 doors to save lives in South Florida.
Andrea Ivory, internationally recognized 2009 Top Ten CNN Hero, breast cancer survivor, and founder of WBHI knows that early detection saves lives, because it saved hers. She founded WBHI, the premiere source of free door to door breast health awareness, education and screening to the uninsured and underserved in South Florida. “Breast cancer kills our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, family and friends. ALL women are at risk for breast cancer. Although early detection saves lives, not all women have access and awareness;” states Andrea, “That’s what we’re out there to do.”
The Women’s Imaging Center at Memorial Healthcare System supports the efforts of WBHI by collaborating to provide our participants with free screening right in the neighborhood served.
Who: The Women’s Breast Health Initiative Florida Affiliate
What: Door to door campaign offering free breast health awareness, education and mammograms to the uninsured and underserved.
Where: City of Miramar, Florida 33025
When: April 9, 16, 23 – Starting – 8:30AM • April 30th –Starting at 9AM
Contact: Andrea Ivory, Founder, Women’s Breast Health Initiative, FL Affiliate 866–315–7711
# # #
Written by: admin
Being active is one of the best things you can do to improve overall health
Another new year, another resolution, right? “Exercise more” is one of the top five resolutions made in the U.S., but unfortunately many people find they’ve already fallen off track by mid-January. Well, if you haven’t been as active as you’d like so far in 2011, just remember: every day is a new opportunity to resolve to get healthy, and what better resolution to make than doing what you can to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
This year, commit to being active. There are so many health benefits associated with physical activity. First and foremost, being active makes us feel good – inside and out! It’s one of the few things you can do to really take control over your health, and lower your risk of breast cancer. Also, for survivors, exercising lowers your chances for a recurrence, increases life expectancy and improves day-to-day well-being.
Findings from the Collaborative Women’s Longevity Study showed that breast cancer survivors who got roughly three to nine hours of walking a week had a 35 to 40 percent lower risk of recurrence compared to survivors who were less active. The study followed nearly 4,500 breast cancer survivors for more than five years. Survivors who got roughly one to two hours of brisk walking a week had a 40 percent lower risk of death compared to less active survivors. The bottom line is that activity equal to a 30-minute brisk walk several times a week improved survival. Women who got more activity got more benefit!
Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, and lowers your risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes. Adding even a little activity to your day will improve your health and protect against breast cancer.
How does it help?
There are several ways in which physical activity can help protect against breast cancer.
Weight: Staying active helps us maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that thinner women and women who gain little or no weight as they age have a lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Additionally, thinner breast cancer survivors have a higher life expectancy than heavier survivors. This is because they are less likely to have a recurrence and have a reduced incidence of developing heart disease and/or diabetes.
Lowered estrogen levels: Regular exercise may lower estrogen levels in women, which in turn may help prevent breast cancer from developing or spreading.
Lowered insulin levels: Exercising may also lower your insulin levels. Some studies have shown a correlation between high insulin levels in postmenopausal women and higher risk of developing or dying from breast cancer.
How to get started
The good news is you don’t have to run marathons or spend hours a day in the gym to reap the benefits that physical activity offers. According to the National Cancer Institute, simply taking a 30 minute walk five times a week can lower your breast cancer risk by as much as 15 percent.
So, grab a friend, and get moving! Improving your health and lowering your breast cancer risk is a simple resolution that can do so much good.
Written by: admin