Hello gorgeous readers! As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in honor of my aunt -- and all the other brave women who have battled breast health issues --  I am posting useful health tips and advice for you to read and then share with your friends and families. Feel free to pass the information along. Also, be on the lookout for brand promotions or organization donations that contribute proceeds of their merchandise to help fight the cause all month long. Hope, we must never lose the hope that we will eradicate BC forever. Stay healthy! Stay Beautiful! XOXO

More than half of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, and getting recommended screening tests. In this section you can learn how to help lower your chances of getting cancer, plus what screening tests the American Cancer Society recommends, and when. Can breast cancer be prevented? There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things all women can do that might reduce their risk and help increase the odds that if cancer does occur, it will be found at an early, more treatable stage. The information here is provided by the American Cancer Society.

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 physical activity
Reduce weight gain
Avoid 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.

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. See more at links below.


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