While cabing around last night to somewhere WAY out of my comfort zone- I noticed the "PINK" lights on the Sears and Hancock towers. Which reminded me that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is near and dear to my heart since it is very prevalent in my family history...sweet.
I was watching Oprah the other night and she had Christina Applegate on, talking about her breast cancer. I learned some very interesting facts, which really only increased my paranoia.
Some breast cancer facts:
- Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among U.S. women, accounting for more than 1 in 4 cancers.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.
- One out of eight American women who live to be 85 years of age will develop breast cancer, a risk that was one out of 14 in 1960.
- 2.4 million women living in the U.S. have been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.
- An estimated 182,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in American women during 2008. About 1,990 new cases of breast cancer are expected in men. In addition, an estimated 67,770 cases of in situ breast cancer (both DCIS and LCIS) are expected, with 85 percent being DCIS.
- An estimated 40,930 breast cancer deaths are anticipated this year (40,480 women, 450 men).
- The greatest risk factor for developing breast cancer is gender (female) and the second is age. During 2000-2004, 95 percent of new cases and 97 percent of breast cancer deaths occurred in women aged 40 and older.
- The risk of developing breast cancer increases for women whose parent, sibling or child have had the disease.
- It has been estimated that 5 percent to 10 percent of breast cancer cases result from inherited mutations or alterations in BRCA1 and BRCA2.
- Women who begin menstruating before age 12 are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The more menstrual cycles a woman has during her lifetime, the more her risk increases.
- Other risk factors include inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, a personal or family history of breast cancer, high breast tissue density, high-dose radiation to the chest wall, long menstrual history, never having given birth or giving birth for the first time after age 30, and biopsy-confirmed atypical hyperplasia.
- After decreasing 16 percent from 2006 to 2007, the estimated number of new cases of female invasive breast cancer is expected to increase slightly in 2008 to 182,460, up from 178,480. The estimated number of new breast cancer cases in men is expected to continue to decline slightly, with 1,990 new cases in 2008, down from 2,030 in 2007.
- Female breast cancer incidence rates continuously increased for two decades, but have leveled off since 2001.
Some ways to prevent breast cancer:
- Limit alcohol/NO Smoking. A strong link exists between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. The type of alcohol consumed — wine, beer or mixed drinks — seems to make no difference. To help protect against breast cancer, limit alcohol to less than one drink a day or avoid alcohol completely.
- Maintain a healthy weight. There's a clear link between obesity — weighing more than is appropriate for your age and height — and breast cancer. This is especially true if you gain the weight later in life, particularly after menopause. Excess fatty tissue is a source of circulating estrogen in your body. And breast cancer risk is linked to how much estrogen you're exposed to during your lifetime.
- Stay physically active. Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and, as a consequence, may aid in lowering your risk of breast cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. If you haven't been particularly active in the past, start your exercise program slowly and gradually work up to a greater intensity. Try to include weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging or aerobics. These have the added benefit of keeping your bones strong.
- Consider limiting fat in your diet. Results from the most definitive study of dietary fat and breast cancer risk to date suggest a slight decrease in risk of invasive breast cancer for women who eat a low-fat diet. But the effect is modest at best. However, by reducing the amount of fat in your diet, you may decrease your risk of other diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. And a low-fat diet may protect against breast cancer in another way if it helps you maintain a healthy weight — another factor in breast cancer risk. For a protective benefit, limit fat intake to less than 35 percent of your daily calories and restrict foods high in saturated fat.
- Exposure to pesticides. The molecular structure of some pesticides closely resembles that of estrogen. This means they may attach to estrogen receptor sites in your body. Although studies haven't found a definite link between most pesticides and breast cancer, researchers have learned that women with elevated levels of pesticides in their breast tissue have a greater breast cancer risk.
- Unnecessary antibiotics. Scientists recently found a link between antibiotic use and breast cancer — the longer antibiotics were used, the greater the risk of breast cancer. Researchers caution, however, that other factors, such as underlying illness or a weakened immune system, rather than antibiotics themselves, may account for the elevated cancer risk.
- Retinoids. Natural or synthetic forms of vitamin A (retinoids) may have the ability to destroy or inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Unlike other experimental therapies, retinoids may be effective in premenopausal women and in those whose tumors aren't estrogen-positive. Research is ongoing.
- Flaxseed. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring compounds that lower circulating estrogens in your body. Flaxseed is particularly high in one phytoestrogen, lignan, which appears to decrease estrogen production and which may inhibit the growth of some breast cancers.
It doesn't hurt to change a few things in your life, to be a little healthier. I, personally, am going to work on my morbid obesity ;) Jk...