Breast cancer is often symptom-less. Presenting with a discernable lump in the breast or showing up on mammogram only after the cancer has done serious damage to the body. Most women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease, however if mother or sister has breast cancer, the risk of you getting it is doubled. With or without a family history of breast cancer, there are some things that can be done to reduce the risk.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption, Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Drinking alcohol increase estrogen and androgen levels in the female body. Increased levels of both of these hormones are linked to breast cancer. Just two alcoholic beverages a day increases the breast cancer risk by over 1/3, three or more alcoholic beverages a day increases the risk by over half. Reduce alcohol consumption and reduce the breast cancer risk.
Reduce Estrogen Exposure, Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
The more the female body is exposed to estrogen, the higher the risk is for developing breast cancer. The body receives a break from estrogen during pregnancy, breast-feeding and while taking birth control, but aside from those instances, the body receives a steady supply of estrogen which increases the breast cancer risk.
Estrogen exposure can be reduced by losing a few pounds. Any extra pounds create extra fat cells which in turn create more estrogen. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) also prolongs the body’s exposure to estrogen and increase breast cancer risk. Red meats and dairy products often contain estrogen, plus their high cholesterol levels also increase the risk of breast cancer.
Preventative Medicine Reduces Breast Cancer Risk
Many cases of breast cancer are caused by abnormal genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. A blood test can confirm (or deny) if either of those abnormal genes are present in the body, if so, preventative medicine may reduce the breast cancer risk. Chemoprevention drugs, like tamoxifen or raloxifene, block the effects of estrogen on the breast’s tissue and reduce the risk of breast cancer. Unfortunately, chemoprevention drugs may increase the risks of other types of cancer.
Early Detection of Breast Cancer
Early detection does not reduce the risk of breast cancer, but it does increase the survival rate. Monthly self-exams of the breasts, annual physician exams, annual mammograms and/or MRI’s provide early breast cancer detection.
Most breast cancer is symptom-less, but some women do experience breast pain, breast thickening, nipple discharge and/or breast skin irritation, any of these symptoms can indicate a problem and should be examined by a physician.
Breast cancer risks can be reduced by reducing alcohol consumption and estrogen exposure. Early detection of abnormal genes or the presence of breast cancer combined with a treatment plan can and does save lives from this devastating disease.