AARP Magazine is doing an article on RTR4C in October. When asked for important information I contacted Rebecca Newhouse, from the Susan G. Komen West Virginia branch, for important facts on breast cancer. What she had to share was illuminating!
“The statement 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life time almost doesn’t instill a healthy enough respect for this disease. Many factors are linked to breast cancer risk. Some factors affect risk a great deal and others by only a small amount. Some risk factors you can’t change. Simply being a woman and getting older increase your risk. Other factors you may be able to control. For example, leading a healthy lifestyle can help lower your chances of getting breast cancer.
Understanding which factors may affect your risk can help you and your health care provider develop a breast health plan that is right for you.
Don’t be lulled into complacency if it is not in your family tree- shake the leaves because 80% of those diagnosed have no family history. 10% to 15% can be related to the inherited BRCA genes or triple negative variety making for aggressive form. And don’t leave out of your leaf collection family connections to ovarian cancer, there is an increase with that one.
More than anything young women need to be aware of risk factors and how healthy choices in their life can lower the risk. Yes young women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a 1 to 1760 ratio at age 20 and in just 10 short years that risk multiplies to 1 in 229. If you are a young woman starting a family breast feeding can lower your risk. Not having more than one alcohol drink a day, maintaining a healthy weight, just 15 minutes of activity a day can all help lower your risk. To learn more about this disease and its risks visit www.komen.org learn more about screening, risk, treatment and what is going on in research that is changing the course of this disease. Today it is survivable and thrivable which is a long way from just 30 years ago.
When you start thinking about your personal risk for breast cancer be sure to account for weight gain as an adult or being overweight after menopause- a 20-30 pound weight gain can increase risk up to 40%- who knew. Never having children or having children after 35 can increase risk for breast cancer- all relationship to estrogen through birth control or hormone replacement should create an active discussion about risk with your physician. This also includes discussion of when menstrual cycle started or the other end of spectrum ceased. Since women are aware of bone density testing they should also know the increased risk with high bone density. There are a lot of discussions to have with your provider well beyond whether your mother had breast cancer.”
Thank you Rebecca, all important and helpful facts!