Pretty In Pink Foundation + Breast Cancer Health Tips

HAPPY FRIDAY GORGEOUS READERS!

I'd like to take a moment today to share with you the Pretty In Pink Foundation. Pretty In Pink Foundation serves people diagnosed with breast cancer who have limited health insurance benefits, or in many cases, no health insurance at all.The group also has various support groups, charity events and other helpful tools linked on their website. Please take a moment to visit or share the foundations resources for anyone who might need the help and feel free to re-post this on your social media accounts. I'm also adding my BCA health tips and info from last year so everyone can have the information needed at a glance without having to search the blog. Have a fabulous weekend. Stay healthy! Stay Beautiful! XOXO

Lowering your risk: You can lower your risk of breast cancer by changing those risk factors that can be changed. Body weight, physical activity, and diet have all been linked to breast cancer, so these might be areas where you can take action. Both increased body weight and weight gain as an adult are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause. Alcohol also increases risk of breast cancer. Even low levels of alcohol intake have been linked with an increase in risk. Many studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk. A diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products has also been linked with a lower risk of breast cancer in some studies. But it is not clear if specific vegetables, fruits, or other foods can lower risk. Most studies have not found that lowering fat intake has much of an effect on breast cancer risk. At this time, the best advice about diet and activity to possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer is to: 

Get regular, intentional physical activity
Reduce your lifetime weight gain by limiting your calories  
And getting regular physical activity
Avoid or limit your alcohol intake

Women who choose to breastfeed for at least several months may also get an added benefit of reducing their breast cancer risk. Not using hormone therapy after menopause can help you avoid raising your risk. It’s not clear at this time if environmental chemicals that have estrogen-like properties (like those found in some plastic bottles or certain cosmetics and personal care products) increase breast cancer risk. If there is an increased risk, it is likely to be very small. Still, women who are concerned may choose to avoid products that contain these substances when possible.

Finding Breast Cancer Early: Other than lifestyle changes, the most important action a woman can take is to follow the American Cancer Society's guidelines for early detection.  Early detection will not prevent breast cancer, but it can help find it when the likelihood of successful treatment is greatest.

If you are a woman at increased risk for breast cancer (for example, because you have a strong family history of breast cancer, a known genetic mutation of a BRCA gene, or you have had DCIS, LCIS, or biopsies that have shown pre-cancerous changes), there may be some things you can do to reduce your chances of developing breast cancer. Before deciding which, if any, of these may be right for you, talk with your doctor to understand your risk and how much any of these approaches might lower this risk. Many women may have relatives with breast cancer, but in most cases this is not the result of BRCA gene mutations. Genetic testing for these mutations can be expensive and the results are often not clear cut. Testing can have a wide range of consequences that need to be considered. It should only be done when there is a reasonable suspicion that a mutation may be present The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that only women with a strong family history be evaluated for genetic testing for BRCA mutations. This group represents only about 2% of adult women in the United States. The USPSTF recommends that women who are not of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish heritage should be referred for genetic evaluation if they have any of the following:2 first-degree relatives (mother, sisters, daughters) with breast cancer, one of whom was diagnosed when they were younger than 50.

3 or more first- or second-degree relatives (includes grandmothers, aunts)
 diagnosed with breast cancer

Both breast and ovarian cancer among first- and second-degree relatives 

A first-degree relative diagnosed with cancer in both breasts

2 or more first- or second-degree relatives diagnosed with ovarian cancer

A male relative with breast cancer

Women of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish heritage should be referred for 
genetic evaluation if they have:

A first-degree relative with breast or ovarian cancer 
  
2 second-degree relatives on the same side of the family with breast or ovarian cancer 

Other medical groups have different guidelines for referral for genetic risk evaluation that your doctor may follow. For example, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines advise referring women 60 and under who have triple negative breast cancer. If you are considering genetic testing, it is strongly recommended that you talk first to a genetic counselor, nurse, or doctor qualified to explain and interpret the results of these tests. It is very important to understand what genetic testing can and can't tell you, and to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of testing before these tests are done. Testing is expensive and may not be covered by some health insurance plans. Most cancer centers employ a genetic counselor who will assess your risk of carrying a mutated BRCA gene, explain the risks and benefits of testing, and check with your insurance company to see if they will cover the test.

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