It’s almost Halloween, and I can’t think of anything scary to wear. Let me know if you have any suggestions so I’m not staring into my closet considering re-using a costume! But, I was thinking that scarier than horror movies and something that I can’t yet understand how scary it is, is finding out that I have cancer. I can’t imagine how I would deal with it, and really respect all the people who’ve received that news, and their families who have helped them deal with it.
Since this is still breast cancer awareness month, I thought I’d focus on what are the preventable things one can do to decrease their chance for breast cancer.
What you intake…
- Alcohol – Breast Cancer risk increases with the amount of alcohol one drinks. 2-5 drinks a day increases your risk of breast cancer by 1.5 times (it can also increase the risk of mouth, throat, liver, and esophageal cancer). 1 drink a day slightly increases your risk…this is all compared to those who drink no alcohol.
- Oral Contraceptives – usage is associated with a slightly higher risk, but this risk declines once usage is stopped. 10 years after stopping, you’re back to the same risk as if you never took oral contraceptives. But be sure to weigh your risks and benefits before deciding to stop or start.
- Hormone Therapy – use is related to an increased risk, even if just for a few years. Talk to your doctor about post-menopause hormone therapy risks and benefits especially as it relates to osteoporosis, stroke and heart disease.
Things you do…
- Physical Activity – Even as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours of brisk walking a week, decreases your chance of breast cancer by about 18% (shown in the Women’s Health Initiative research). More hours is even better.
- Being Overweight – is associated with a higher breast cancer risk, especially after menopause. After menopause, your ovaries decrease estrogen production, but your fat cells continue…And where your fat cells are located (waist is worse than hips) affects your risk.
- Pregnancy – early and many decreases your risk…but sometimes, this just can’t be helped!
Tobacco smoke, environmental toxins, diet, and vitamin intake still need better research or are still controversial, so I’ll leave those alone for now. Thanks to the American Cancer Society for this great information! I hope you and your children all have a safe and fun Halloween!