Breast Cancer Prevention

Breast Cancer Prevention

Breast Cancer Prevention
Whether you have family history of breast cancer or not, you can take steps to prevent this common cancer in women. Some risk factors are lifestyle-related, while others are tied to genetics. Exercising and eating healthy are a start, as well as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol. Your primary care provider can help assess your breast cancer risk; regular breast screenings and exams can catch cancer early. Women with increased risk for breast cancer, who carry BRCA genes for example, can consider risk-reducing surgery with their doctor. Learn more about preventing breast cancer and how to identify signs of cancer with our expert advice.

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    A answered
    There is no known way to prevent breast cancer. But you have a much better prognosis if you can find and treat breast cancer early. To do that, follow this advice:
    • At age 40 for women at an average risk of breast cancer, begin having screening mammograms every year.
    • For women at high risk of breast cancer, starting at age 30 or an age determined by your healthcare professional, begin having annual screening mammograms together with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
    • To make sure you get the best possible mammogram, look for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certificate, which should be prominently displayed at the facility. Facilities not meeting FDA requirements may not lawfully perform mammography.
    • If you're in your 20s and 30s and at an average risk, have your healthcare professional physically examine your breasts at least once every three years.
    • Become familiar with how your breasts feel and what is "normal" for you; examine your breasts periodically and see a healthcare professional if you feel or see any changes that don't go away after one menstrual cycle.
    • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintain your ideal body weight, exercise regularly and drink in moderation, if at all. A University of Washington (Seattle) study found that exercise and lack of obesity in adolescence significantly delayed the onset of breast cancer, including onset in high-risk women who carried genetic mutations for the disease.
    • Engage in frequent and regular physical exercise. Some studies suggest it may reduce your breast cancer risk.
    • If you're at very high risk for breast cancer because of a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, an inherited breast cancer gene abnormality or previous breast cancer, talk to your healthcare professional about a prophylactic mastectomy.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    To reduce your risk of breast cancer recurrence, limit your intake of saturated and trans fats and choose instead healthier fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). Consider the following strategies and benefits:
    • Reduce fat intake. Diets high in fat also tend to be high in calories and contribute to being overweight and obesity. It is not necessary to cut out all fat from your diet, but reducing is recommended.
    • Eat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats reduce blood cholesterol levels and thus lower the risk of heart disease when they replace saturated fats in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids (a type of polyunsaturated fat) reduce blood triglyceride levels and may benefit the immune system. Good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are canola, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, corn and cottonseed oils. Other good sources are nuts (almonds, peanuts and cashews), seeds (flaxseed and sunflower seeds), corn and avocados.
    • Limit saturated and trans fats. These unhealthy fats can raise the amount of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Trans fats are often listed as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils; check food labels for these ingredients and avoid foods that contain them. Sources of saturated and trans fats are meats (fatty meats like sausage, hot dogs, bacon and ribs), full-fat dairy products (whole milk, regular cheese, ice cream, butter and stick margarine), fast foods and processed baked goods (cookies, cakes, pies, doughnuts, and some crackers).
    • Select lean meats and poultry and skim or 1% low-fat milk and milk products to cut back on saturated fat intake.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    To lower your risk of breast cancer recurrence, it's important to manage your body weight by controlling total calorie intake. For most people, this will mean consuming fewer calories by making informed food and beverage choices. Some strategies include:
    • Becoming familiar with standard serving sizes and reading food labels to become more aware of actual servings consumed
    • Distributing calories evenly throughout the day by not skipping meals, especially breakfast
    • Reducing weight at a rate of no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week
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    A Diagnostic Radiology, answered on behalf of
    3-D mammograms, also known as Breast Tomosynthesis, can be performed on all patients. It however has the most benefit in the women with the denser types of breast tissue. Breast Density with Category C and D are the heterogeneously dense and extremely dense breast tissues respectively and would be expected to benefit most from 3-D mammograms.
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    There are certain medications that can help prevent breast cancer in women who are at high risk. Chemoprevention, taking a medicine in an attempt to lower cancer risk, can provide more choices for high-risk women.
    These medications are estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), which is a fancy way of saying that they block the hormone estrogen from acting on cells in the body. The hormone, estrogen has positive effects in the body like protecting the bones and heart. However, the estrogen our bodies make can also act on breast tissue to increase breast cancer risk. Drugs that block estrogen in this way can lower breast cancer risk. These drugs all have risks and benefits that should be reviewed with your doctor.
    Tamoxifen is a SERM medication that has been used for more than 20 years to treat women with breast cancer. A national study of over 13,000 healthy women at increased risk found that the drug can lower the risk of developing breast cancer by 49 percent. Tamoxifen has also been linked with some protection from bone loss.
    Raloxifene (also called Evista) also decreases breast cancer risk. It has the added benefits of protecting from bone loss and promoting good cholesterol levels.
    It is likely that there will later be more medications available for chemoprevention, so staying in touch with your medical team is crucial. It is important to know all current alternatives including the risks and benefits of each before making a decision about chemoprevention.
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    There are several ways you can help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer:
    • Exercise – An inactive lifestyle may increase the risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends 45 to 60 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week.
    • Maintain a healthy diet and weight – Some studies have found that high-fat diets may increase breast cancer risk; yet, the results are inconclusive. The current recommendations, however, suggest that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some cancers, including breast cancer.
    • Limit alcohol intake – Heavy drinking is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
    • Get regular screening tests – Your doctor may recommend regular self breast exams and mammograms, particularly after age 40, to detect early signs of breast cancer.
    • Talk with your doctor – When you work together with your doctor, you can better manage your breast cancer risk factors and receive the right kind of care when needed. Your doctor can tell you more about the recommended screening guidelines and help you decide what is best for you.
    Managing your lifestyle and personal health care enables you to take control of your risk for breast cancer. Taking preventative steps may also increase the likelihood of early detection.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    Limiting your consumption of energy-dense foods and sugary drinks will lower your risk of breast cancer recurrence. Consider doing the following:
    • Limit intake of processed/high-fat carbohydrates such as pastries, doughnuts, cakes, cookies and sweet rolls.
    • Limit sugary drinks such as regular soda and sweetened beverages. A better choice is water or unsweetened drinks.
    • Eat smaller portions.
    • Be aware that something that is low-fat or nonfat does not mean it's low-calorie. Low-fat cakes, cookies and similar foods are often high in calories.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    What impact does extra virgin olive oil have in preventing breast cancer?
    Just a little extra virgin olive oil can go a long way in preventing breast cancer. In this video, internal medicine specialist Michael Roizen, MD, discusses why extra virgin olive oil should be an integral part of everyone's healthy diet.
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    A Nursing, answered on behalf of
    Healthcare professionals and breast cancer organizations know that breast cancers are discovered by women themselves, so if you become familiar with your breasts you will be more aware of anything that looks or feels unusual.

    One in eight women will be affected by breast cancer in her lifetime. The chances of survival are greater if breast cancer is detected early; in fact, when breast cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is higher. Remember this and start checking today. Early detection saves lives.
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    Why aren’t breast self-examinations as encouraged as they used to be?
    Breast self-examinations for are no longer strenuously recommended for a number of reasons, says Cathy Cole, a nurse navigator with Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. In this video, she says that self-examination still does play a role, however.
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