Breast Cancer Risk Reduction Strategies

Posted: 11/27/2021 13:01:47 PM

Modified: 11/27/2021 13:00:12

With one in eight women developing breast cancer in their lifetime, many wonder what they can do to lower their risk. A panel of specialists from Concord Hospital recently discussed breast cancer risk factors and risk reduction strategies.

What are the risk factors for developing breast cancer?

Having breasts is the number one risk factor for breast cancer; however, men can get it too. Overall, women have about a 12% chance of developing breast cancer, but that number may be higher for certain groups. Some factors that increase your risk are old age, a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, a previous diagnosis of breast cancer, and BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. While we have no control over some factors, others, such as diet and lifestyle, can be changed to reduce our risk.

What can be done to reduce the risk for people with a history or family history or genetic mutations?

There are both pharmaceutical and surgical options to reduce the risk of breast cancer in patients who are at a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Two major classes of drugs are available; selective estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors. Selective estrogen receptor modulators (such as tamoxifen and raloxifene) can reduce the risk of developing invasive breast cancer by 50%. They have the potential to cause side effects such as hot flashes, endometrial cancer, deep vein thrombosis, or stroke. Aromatase inhibitors (Arimidex, Femara or Aromasin) are also effective and have a better side effect profile. They are reserved for postmenopausal women. Premenopausal women can only take tamoxifen or raloxifene.

Surgical options include oophorectomy, removal of both ovaries; and mastectomy, removal of the breast (s). Oophorectomy only decreases the risk of breast cancer in patients with BRCA mutations, and mastectomy is a serious surgical procedure with the potential for both physical and psychological complications. The American Society of Breast Surgeons’ Choosing Wisely campaign contains a wealth of information from many specialists, including breast cancer surgeons, to help patients and their physicians determine which treatment is best for them (

What Kind of Diet Should Women Follow to Reduce Their Risk of Breast Cancer?

Women should choose what is called an abundance model over a deprivation model. It just means that the focus needs to be on a balance and a variety of healthy choices and generous portions rather than calorie counting and the ‘don’t’ and ‘shouldn’t’ rules, which leave us with a sense of. guilt and demoralization. To be successful in maintaining or achieving a healthy body weight, it needs to be a lifestyle goal, not just the calories in and out. Women should follow a herbal diet for optimal health. This does not necessarily mean vegan, but rather a diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, nuts, seeds, whole grains, high fiber beans, healthy fats and plant proteins. such as tofu or tempeh. Sugary drinks should be limited, opt instead for water, seltzer water or teas. Alcohol should also be limited or avoided altogether.

What exercise works best for reducing the risk of breast cancer?

Active women have a 25 percent decrease in breast cancer risk compared to sedentary women. Exercise also reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence as well as a variety of other health problems and illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day for five days. per week and weight training twice a week. . Moderate exercise is considered to be at 55 to 75% of an individual’s maximum heart rate. The activity can be work, recreational, walking / cycling, household chores or other forms, although recreational activities or walking / cycling have been shown to be more effective in reducing the risks than other forms of movement. High Intensity Intermittent Training (HIIT) has become popular because it can reduce the amount of time it takes to exercise. Regardless of what is chosen, the activity should be changed every six weeks to better stimulate your body.

What are the environmental risk factors and how can women reduce their exposure?

We interact with the environment and can be exposed to toxins by breathing the air, ingesting and absorbing the skin. Behavior and lifestyle can increase or decrease your exposure to environmental toxins, including carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals. Carcinogens are natural or manufactured substances known to cause cancer. Endocrine disrupting chemicals mimic, block, or interfere with hormones in the body’s endocrine system. Many chemicals are both carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, such as BPA, flame retardants, and pesticides. Smoking, alcohol consumption, the use of certain personal care products, the consumption of certain types of food, cleaning and cooking practices, and indoor air quality are all factors that we can modify or largely control. To reduce your risks, keep your air clean, watch what you eat and drink, think about what is happening on your skin, minimize the use of plastic and tin cans, use safe cleaning products, do not use pesticides and always read the ingredients. . Remember the adage “when in doubt, do without.

Dr Sharon Gunsher from Concord Hospital (Concord Surgical Associates), Dietitian / Nutritionist Megan Ryder (Payson Center for Cancer Care), Physiotherapists Austri Monette and Barbara Baker (Rehabilitation Services) were joined by Deborah de Moulpied from Anticancer Lifestyle Program for Breast Cancer Risk Factors and Reduction Strategies Present at the October Concord Hospital Trust “What’s Up Doc? Donor Lecture Series. The monthly series, supported by the Walker Lecture Fund, features Concord Hospital medical staff speaking to Concord Hospital Trust donors on new and innovative medical treatments and services. You can watch the panel presentation on Concord Hospital’s YouTube channel at:

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