October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I’m on a mission to save them all! – Dr. Rob America’s Fitness Doctor®
Here are the American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2012:
About 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women
About 63,300 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
About 39,510 deaths from breast cancer in women
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer.
The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 36. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Disturbingly, only 3 in 100 women can name five warning signs of breast cancer, according to new research. This survey also found that just over a third (37%) of women check their breasts regularly.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer has launched a new breast awareness guide to make sure women have a reminder of the signs and symptoms of the potentially fatal disease. It highlights the charity’s Touch Look Check (TLC) awareness campaign, which advises women to touch their breasts, look for any changes and if they spot anything unusual, and check it out with their doctor.
These statistics should be a wake up call for women everywhere. We already know that early diagnosis saves lives and that’s why it’s vital that every woman knows what to look for.
The five most common signs of breast cancer are a lump, a change to skin texture, a rash or crusting, a change in the appearance of the nipple and nipple discharge.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:
¤ A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
¤ Bloody discharge from the nipple
¤ Change in the size or shape of a breast
¤ Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
¤ Inverted nipple
¤ Peeling, scaling or flaking of the nipple or breast skin
¤ Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange
Although the majority of breast changes don’t turn out to be cancer, make an appointment to see your doctor if you find a lump or other change in your breast. Even if you’ve just had a mammogram with normal results, it’s still important to have your doctor evaluate any changes.
The American Cancer Society recommends these screening guidelines for most adults.
- Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health
- Clinical breast exam (CBE) about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over
- Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
Some women – because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors – should be screened with MRI in addition to mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is small: less than 2% of all the women in the US.) Talk with your doctor about your history and whether you should have additional tests at an earlier age.
Breast Cancer Prevention
Breast cancer risk could be decreased by up to 38% through lifestyle factors including maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. In fact, less than 10% of breast cancer appears to have a genetic basis.
For prevention of breast cancer, limiting alcohol to one drink a day (5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of spirits) is one of the most important things that you can do. In addition, a plant-based diet loaded with at least two cups a day of a variety of produce is beneficial.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, “no single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But scientists believe that the combination of foods in a predominantly plant-based diet may. There is evidence that the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in plant foods could interact in ways that boost their individual anti-cancer effects.
Some of their top picks for cancer prevention include beans, low sugar berries, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, chard, romaine, mustard greens, flaxseed, garlic, grapes, green tea, soy, tomatoes and whole grains. Also walnuts may also play a role in breast cancer prevention.
Being overweight is strongly associated with the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Being 22-44 pounds overweight is associated with a 50% greater risk and being 45 pounds overweight is associated with an 87% increased risk.
Excess belly fat seems to be particularly harmful because of its propensity to increase inflammation in the body and its association with elevated insulin levels, so if you carry extra weight in your belly, it is especially important to lose weight, exercise regularly, and limit refined grains, sugar sweetened beverages, and remove as much sugar from your diet as possible.
It is also important for breast cancer survivors to maintain a healthy diet, get regular exercise, drink plenty of water, maintain strong social relationships and pursue your activities with a passion. Also if you are currently receiving treatment it is important to maintain your health and optimize your energy levels and the emphasis should be on whole natural foods rich in anti-oxidants.
Lifestyle is one way you can certainly empower your health and make a significant impact that decreases your risk of breast cancer.
“Fitness is the Footprint of Life. Follow It!”
Dr. Rob Kominiarek, America’s Fitness Doctor®