Volume 2 Issue 5

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Page 14 | Abby's Magazine - Breast Cancer Update Breast cancer risk increases as a woman is exposed to the hormone estrogen throughout her life. Women are at higher risk for breast cancer if they begin to menstruate before age 12, have their first pregnancy after 30 or do not have children, begin menopause after 55, take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), are obese or don't exercise. Most studies don't find an overall increase in risk with oral contraceptive use, but the risk is higher for those who took birth control pills before 1975 – those earlier pills had far higher levels of estrogen. HRT, taking female hormones, can more than double your risk of breast cancer, yet 8.6 million women use combination therapy (estrogen and progestin), and 12 million take estrogen alone to reduce the risk of osteoporosis (bone thinning) and lessen hot flashes and other discomforts of menopause. In a study of over 1000 women, half with breast cancer, the incidence of what's called lobular breast cancer was 2.6 times higher in women who took combination therapy for at least six months, or an average of four years. Lobular cancer accounts for 10 percent of breast cancer; 85 percent of cases involve the ducts that carry milk to the nipple. Watch out for alcohol, which may account for 12 percent of breast cancer by heightening estrogen, triggering cancer growth. Alcohol also suppresses melatonin, which may amplify estrogen. Even moderate drinking increases risk; alcohol breakdown raises estrogen in your blood. One drink a day can up your risk by about 10 percent; two or more make breast cancer 41 percent more likely. Deflate this risk by taking folic acid, one of the B vitamins. The Nurses Health Study, looking at health habits of 121,000 women, found that cancer risk fell to half when women who drank took folic acid. To further cut risk, limit weight gain after high school to less than 11 pounds. Fat cells produce and store estrogen. The more fat you have, the more estrogen in your body. Being overweight may also lead to insulin resistance, a condition that allows insulin, a hormone-like blood sugar controller, to accumulate. Researchers checking on 500 women with breast cancer for ten years found that heightened insulin multiplies the chances of cancer reoccurrence by eight times. Exercise to cut fat; exercise decreases estrogen levels and enhances immunity. Moving around may lower your risk of breast cancer. Anticancer Edibles Diet may be responsible for more than 1/3 of all cancer. Watch out for heavy doses of polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils like corn oil: they are believed to stimulate cancer growth. Saturated fat in meat increases breast cancer risk by jolting more estrogen into circulation.

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