Breast Cancer Awareness: Do you have the facts?

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS:

Many people see October as the beginning of fall or prep time for the holidays, but for thousands of women October only means one thing: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On your drive to OSR it is almost guaranteed that you have seen pink ribbons hanging all across Kailua and in town. Pink ribbons are scattered all across the country including all over television on the uniforms of professional athletes in the NFL, MLB and NHL. It’s safe to say that everyone in the country is supporting breast cancer awareness. Which is why this is the perfect time to examine some of the most recent evidence regarding the early detection, prevention and risk factors regarding breast cancer.

THE LATEST INFORMATION ON MAMMOGRAMS:

The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for average-risk women starting at the age of 40.  The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every other year starting at age 50.  However, earlier this year a 25 yearlong study concluded that “the death rate from breast cancer was virtually identical between those who received an annual mammogram and those who did not.”  The researchers concluded “the data suggest that the value of mammography screening should be reassessed.”  In February, 2014, the Swiss Medical Board, after reviewing the available evidence and its implications concerning mammography, concluded to do away with routine mammogram recommendations.

Unfortunately, most doctors and their female patients are still unaware that the science backing the health benefits of mammograms is sorely lacking.  There is obviously much industry and media propaganda downplaying and ignoring the research that tends to contradict most mainstream mammography protocols.

When it comes to mammography, as a woman you should know that:

Mammograms may offer less benefit than you think.

Mammography may actually increase the risk of breast cancer in women with BRCA ½ mutation.

False positives are common and can lead to unnecessary procedures and treatments that are inherently risky.

Mammograms may not work if you have dense breasts.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: There are other screening options that are at least as accurate and with much less risk such as Breast Thermography.

CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS FOR BREAST CANCER:

It’s important to remember that even if you do choose to have a mammogram or any other type of early detection procedure, it’s not the same as prevention. To truly avoid and minimize your risk of breast cancer, you need to focus your attention on the actual prevention and not just early detection.

The most readily accepted area to focus on for the prevention of breast cancer is your weight.  Increases in waist size and “waist-to-hip ratio” are the greatest indicators of risk for breast cancer.  That’s because most breast cancer is fueled by estrogen, a hormone produced and stored in your fat tissue.  So the more body fat you have, the more estrogen you’re likely to produce.  It appears that the fat stored around your mid-section is most dangerous.

One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce body fat and maintain a healthy weight is to avoid sugar.  Sugar plays the most significant role in people developing obesity.  There is no shortage of research evidence linking the consumption of sugar to the meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems.

BREAST CANCER PREVENTION TIPS:

  • Avoid sugar, including fructose (fruit sugar), and processed foods.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels.
  • Limit your protein consumption to 40-70 grams per day.
  • Avoid unfermented soy products. They are high in plant estrogen.
  • Improve your insulin and leptin receptor sensitivity by avoiding sugar and grains.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Drink a pint to a quart of organic green vegetable juice daily.
  • Get plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil.
  • Use a sustained release preparation of Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or at least limit your drinks to one per day.
  • Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy, especially if you have risk factors for breast cancer.
  • Avoid BPA, phthalates, and other xenoestrogens.
  • Make sure you’re not iodine deficient.
  • Avoid charring your meats.

Most importantly, if you have risk factors for breast cancer, including a family history, educate yourself on the benefits and risks of the available screening and early detection procedures as well as learning what you can do to lead a healthy lifestyle in order to minimize your risk.  Taking control of your health is the first step, let OSR in Kailua help you.

Resources

BMJ Open September 24, 2014

BMJ 2014;348:g366

TIME September 25, 2014

Chicago Tribune September 24, 2014

1 BMJ 2014;348:g366

2 Chicago Tribune September 24, 2014

3 Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 4;6:CD001877

4 Swiss Medical Board December 15, 2013, Systematic Mammography Screening

5 The New England Journal of Medicine April 16, 2014

6 BMJ 2012 Sep 6;345:e5660

7 Cancer Epidemiology July 14, 2014

8 Reuters August 22, 2014

9 BMJ Open September 24, 2014

10 TIME September 25, 2014

11 University of Maryland, Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator

12 Policy Brief UCLA Cent Health Policy Res. 2009 Sep;(PB2009-5):1-8.

13 Ann Intern Med. 3 April 2007;146(7):516-526

14 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews October 7, 2009; (4):CD001877

 

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