October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most of you know this. But did you know that breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers? About 1 in 8 women (12%) in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. This is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.
Exercise, diet and early detection play huge roles in reducing breast cancer risk, as well as increasing survival rates.
To learn more about what you can do to decrease your risk, check out these blogs:
1. Tips for Breast Health and Breast Cancer Prevention
2. Household Chemicals and Breast Cancer
3. Herbal Formula Shows Promise for Reducing Breast Cancer Risk
4. Diagnostic Tools and Screening Tests for Breast Cancer
5. Weight and Breast Cancer
And if you are donating to breast cancer causes, you may want to read this blog about where your really money goes when you give.
Estrogen plays many important roles in the body. For example, it is necessary for a woman’s menstrual cycle and for reproduction. It also supports cardiovascular and bone health. And, while estrogen is needed for the development of breasts, too much exposure to estrogen can also increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Estrogen can stimulate breast cell division and can support the growth of estrogen-responsive tumors.
Within the body, there are different estrogen metabolites which are known to be either beneficial or harmful. Simple urine tests are available to measure the metabolites and ratios to assess one’s risk. For example, the company Metametrix offers a test that measures the 2-hydroxyestrone (“good” estrogen) to 16-α-hydroxyestrone (“bad” estrogen). The 2:16 ratio can assess a woman’s long-term risk for breast, cervical, and other estrogen-sensitive cancers. Higher concentrations of 2-metabolites and lower concentrations of 16-metabolites may reduce breast cancer risk as well as the risk for other hormonally-related cancers. The good news is that nutritional interventions can promote a healthy 2:16 ratio.
In a recent study involving 47 premenopausal and 49 postmenopausal women, the results indicate that supplementation with an herbal formula may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Continue reading “Herbal Formula Shows Promise for Reducing Breast Cancer Risk”
Aside from mammography, there are other diagnostic tools that can be used to confirm the presence or absence of cancer. However, most health care professionals still consider these as a supplement to mammography and not a replacement. Sort of like breast self-exams and the ones done by your doctor. Although there has been much controversy about breast self-exams and their effectiveness, I still think it is important to do them. You should know and be familiar with your body, and if something doesn’t feel quite right, you can go to the doctor and let them know. Then a follow-up can be done with a diagnostic test of some kind.
Mammograms have been an important step in helping women detect breast cancer early. However, this test can be painful, uncomfortable and sometimes unreliable. It also adds radiation to the body. Thermography, or digital infrared imaging (DII) is a painless, non-invasive procedure that uses an infrared camera and a computer to detect, analyze and produce high resolution diagnostic images of temperature variations within the breast. One of the key benefits of thermography is its sensitivity to detecting abnormalities or changes in tissues long before a mammogram or other screening method could. So, while mammography relies on finding the physical tumor, thermography can detect the new blood vessels and chemical changes associated with a tumor’s growth. Continue reading “Diagnostic Tools and Screening Tests for Breast Cancer”