In 2015 almost 250,000 new cases of breast cancer were reported in the United States, with almost 10,000 of those cases in Ohio. While these numbers are disturbing there are ways to protect yourself and decrease risk.
Breast Cancer Risk and Exercise
Physical exercise has consistently been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer. One study reported by J.S. Hildebrand of the American Cancer Society found that among women whose only recreational activity was walking, those who walked more than seven hours a week had a 14 percent lower likelihood of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or less.
In another study, involving over 60,000 participants, reported in a 2013 issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, it was shown that there was a 12 percent reduction in breast cancer between those who were physically active and those who were not.
Weight gain is generally accepted as a risk factor for breast cancer. Dr. AH Eliassen, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, investigated the impact of weight gain on breast cancer occurrence. Based on a sample of 4500 cases of breast cancer, it was shown that women who gained 55 pounds since the age of 18 had a 45 percent increased risk of breast cancer, as compared to those who did not.
As several studies have indicated, being obese turns out to be a very significant breast cancer factor. In the Million Women Study, which followed 1.2 million women in Great Britain, it was discovered that obese women had a 30 percent higher probability of developing postmenopausal breast cancer than non-obese women.
Losing or maintaining proper weight can be very helpful in avoiding breast cancer.
Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) are produced when beef, pork, fish and chicken are cooked using high temperature methods, such as grilling. The problem with HCAs is that they increase the probability of several cancers including breast cancer. In a study of 3,000 women carried out by Dr. Susan Steck, women who ate the most grilled, barbecued or smoked meat had a 47 percent higher risk of breast cancer as compared to those who ate the least amount. Other cooking techniques that produce HCAs include roasting, pan frying and baking. Eating less meat that is cooked at high temperatures decreases risk.
As you might suspect eating a diet with daily servings of fruits and vegetables is helpful in decreasing breast cancer risk. As indicated by more than one study, there are also specific foods that appear to be very useful in cutting the likelihood of breast cancer. Dr. S. Gallus reported in the Annals of Oncology Journal that eating one apple a day decreased the risk of breast cancer by 17 percent. A study by Dr. K. Buck in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high lignan intake decreased breast cancer occurrence in post-menopausal women by 14 percent. Flaxseeds are an excellent source of lignans. These studies have been replicated by other researchers.
Fortunately for us the Toledo area is blessed to have agencies that assist people with this disease. The Victory Center, located at 5532 W. Central Ave., is an organization that helps anyone diagnosed with cancer, including breast cancer. The center provides services such as massage, reflexology, reiki, healing touch, facials, counseling, meditation and a wig bank. There are also group programs offered that include support groups, yoga and art therapy.
For questions about Victory Center
programs, call Program Director Penny
McCloskey at 419-531-7600.