Understanding Breast Cancer Risks to Raise Prevention and Awareness
Here are some important breast cancer prevention news and updates from Second to Nature. We serve the Roanoke, Virginia, region with after breast cancer surgery fashions and other apparel for post-mastectomy wear. It is part of our mission to share some of the latest information to help our community.
It is good to know that in spite of breast cancer prevalence, there are efforts to prevent breast cancer. Preventing breast cancer lowers the number of new cancer cases in our overall population. In short, breast cancer prevention helps reduce the number of deaths and the burden of cancer on all of us.
Some of the better-known cancer risk factors are:
- A personal history of breast cancer or benign (noncancer) breast disease
- Dense breast tissue
- Drinking alcohol
- Inherited risk of breast cancer
- Older age
- Radiation therapy to the breast or chest
- Reproductive history resulting in greater exposure to estrogen
- Taking hormone therapy for symptoms of menopause
We know cancer, in itself, is not a single disease. Rather, it is group of related diseases. The cancer occurs as a response of our genetics, lifestyle, or environment. We can understand that our risk for cancer is a combination of these assorted factors.
Finding the Right Balance of Risks and Protective Factors
In short, we can call anything that increases our chance of developing cancer a risk. On the other side of the coin, anything that decreases our chance is a ‘cancer protective factor.’ As a person aware of these risks, we can avoid many of them. However, we cannot avoid each and every one of the risks.
Consider the examples of smoking and genetic risks. We may choose to avoid cancer risk by not smoking. Genetic risk is one risk factor that we may not be able to avoid as a matter of choice. One preventative measure we can all choose to do is regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Although we may be successful in being healthy, it may not prevent all types of cancer. This is also why regular breast checks and mammograms are so crucial to health and wellness.
These are known protective factors for breast cancer:
- Aromatase inhibitors and inactivators
- Estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy
- Getting enough exercise
- Ovarian ablation
- Reproductive history resulting in less exposure to estrogen
- Risk-reducing or prophylactic mastectomy
- Selective estrogen receptor modulators
- Taking estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy, selective estrogen receptor modulators, or aromatase inhibitors and inactivators
Different Ways to Prevent Cancer Under Study
Researchers continue to study different ways to prevent cancer. This is one of the more positive pieces of news we can share. This continuing quest continues due to the ongoing support of many cancer survivors and their families.
For example, it is unclear whether such things as hormonal contraceptives or other environmental chemicals have a role in breast cancer risk. Some studies show that certain factors have little or no effect on breast cancer risk. These continuing studies and clinical trials, and their results, are vital to our knowledge base.
Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials
As we mention above, researchers use cancer prevention clinical trials to study ways to prevent cancer. These trials are science-based and give us all solid evidence of what does work, what does not, and what has little effect. The growing evidence of what works to prevent cancer is proof “positive” that there are breast cancer treatments that work.
Because so many cancer survivors have been successful with various treatments, some of them are worthy of a deeper look. These include:
- Changing lifestyle or eating habits
- Avoiding things known to cause cancer
- Taking medicine to treat a precancerous condition or to keep cancer from starting
- Risk-reducing surgery
As we understand more about cancer and prevention options, an increasing number of those most at risk can feel hopeful. A cancer diagnosis in the past was perceived as a kind of death sentence. Today, with so much more being done with research and awareness to promote prevention, surviving is now viewed as achievable.
Doing Our Part for Breast Cancer Prevention
Everyone can do their part to maintain awareness of the risks and new discoveries related to breast cancer prevention. The American Cancer Society dedicates many articles on breast cancer studies and related topics. Still, many Americans seek additional support relating to breast cancer. The ACS provides the Reach To Recovery program, where volunteers help patients cope with treatment, side effects, and more.
The staff at Second to Nature is also here as a local resource. Give us a call with any questions you may have for yourself or a loved one. Together, we can all support each other on breast cancer prevention on every step of the road.
Contact Second to Nature for education and support of persons experiencing breast cancer before and after surgery. We are located in the Woodhaven Office Park, at 5450 Peters Creek Road. Call for an appointment at (540) 366-2711 or use our contact form. Follow us on Facebook for specials and breast cancer prevention news and updates from Second to Nature.