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I Wear Pink for My Hero My MOM

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Today due to the advances in treatment such as  “breast cancer Targeted Therapies,”  early detection, and an increase in awareness, the diagnosis of breast cancer is finally on the decrease. Thus, what was once thought of as a “death sentence” is now a possible treatable diagnosis. Supporting data indicates there are approximately 3.1 million breast cancer survivors living within the United States today.

Nevertheless, the battle still remains a major challenge for many.  The American Cancer Society reports 41,760 women are expected to lose their battle with breast cancer in 2019.  For me, those statistics are personal, in that a women’s risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has received a diagnosis of the disease.  As I anxiously wait for results of my recent yearly mammogram, the treasurable memories of my mother weighs deeply. Approximately 4 years ago she lost her battle with Breast Cancer.  Yes, I am a “first degree” daughter of a breast cancer victim. According to the American Cancer Society the two most significant contributing risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman, growing older (age) and I must add genetics (Genes).

Clearly, these are non-modifiable factors, in that one cannot change one’s biological status of being female and age is inevitable as we live and breathe.   When it comes to the “Genes” our parents pass down to us, we have no other choice but to wear them. However, since we cannot change any of these significant risk factors, we must put forth every effort to maintain our bodies in the healthiest state possible.  Our primary defense is to prepare our bodies by making them strong and resilient which will diminish our risk.

This is Breast Cancer Awareness month; we all must become more “aware” of the potential dangers which are putting our bodies at risk. Substances we place into our bodies has the potential impact to either impair and weaken the body’s resiliency or to strengthen and intensify.   Are you aware of the following Risk Factors?

  • Overweight and Obesity is a risk factor for both developing breast cancer and experiencing a recurrence. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight based on you BMI reduces risk of first-time breast cancer and recurrence. Note:  7-10% weight loss is beneficial. 
  • High Fat Diet >25% has been contributed to an increase risk of development of Breast Cancer and recurrence. A recent study found that women who consumed 25% of their daily calories from fat had a lower risk of developing and recurrences. Low fat diets are highly encouraged.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) is linked to both Weight Gain and Breast Cancer Risk: BPA acts as a weak form of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen turns on breast cell growth and triggers other unhealthy activities in your body.  See my August Blog “The Order of Alkaline Water”.  BPA may also be a contributor to the rise of abdominal obesity and a catalyst to the complications of metabolic syndrome.   As previously noted, weight gain/obesity increases our risk for breast cancer.
  • Receipts are associated with BPA exposure. Avoid touching cash register receipts, choose electronic receipts if possible.  If you encounter any form of receipts wash your hands immediately after touching due the BPA.
  • Alcohol: Women who drink three drinks a week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. It has been reported that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink each day.  All types of alcohol count, one drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.  The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2 drinks a week.
  • Salt-cured, pickled, smoked, processed food: The American Cancer Society has identified these foods as a Group-1 carcinogenic. 
  • Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are linked to 5-10% of breast cancer. A positive BRACA1 mutation indicates one has a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer; with a positive BRACA2 mutation the risk is 69%. Should you have a first-degree breast cancer relative, testing is encouraged.

Staying aware and mindful of how we treat our bodies in combination with the positive strives research is making together we will eradicate this horrific disease in our very near future.

“Let us not Look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in Awareness”.