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breast cancer

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Small Amounts of Alcohol Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

AICR estimates that one-third of breast cancers in the U.S. could be prevented!

Consuming just one glass of wine (or other alcoholic drink) a day increases the risk of breast cancer, the most common global cause of cancer in women! Excess body fat also increases the risk. Regular physical activity and breastfeeding decrease the risk. 

PositiveTip: Click on this link to view an intriguing infographic on how you, a loved one or friend, can lower the risk of breast cancer.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women--except for skin cancer.

AICR estimates nearly 81,400 women--or one-third of US breast cancer cases could be prevented by 3 simple steps. 

  1. Get to and stay at your healthy weight.
  2. Fit activity into your day--at least 30 minutes.
  3. Avoid alcohol--even small amounts increase risk.

Download and print this infographic, then place it at your work, church, or club to help others understand the importance of these steps.

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Early High-fiber Diets Reduce Breast Cancer Risk Later

Healthy eating early in life may protect against later breast cancer.

Adolescent girls and young women who consumed a healthier diet had less breast cancer as they aged. Researchers found those who ate the highest amounts of dietary fiber had a 25% lower risk when compared with those who ate the lowest amounts. Both insoluble and soluble fiber consumption were beneficial. For each 10 gram increase in daily fiber intake the risk fell by 13%!

PositiveTip: Young women should eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

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New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

A healthful diet and lifestyle lowers risk for breast and other cancers.

The American Cancer Society (ACS), after a careful review of research data by clinicians and public health specialists, published new guidelines for women at average risk for breast cancer. Here are the highlights:

  • First mammogram at age 45 and yearly until age 54.
  • At age 55 have a mammogram every two years.
  • Breast exams by clinicians are no longer necessary.

PositiveTip: Be aware of how your breasts look and feel, and report changes to your clinician immediately.

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Red Meat Consumption and Breast Cancer Risk

Consumption of red meat by young women increases breast cancer risk.

One serving a day of read meat consumed by women during adolescence was associated with a 22% higher risk of premenopausal breast cancer. The same single serving consumed during early adulthood increased the risk by 13%. During this age period mammary glands are the most susceptible to carcinogen exposure. Researchers accounted for all major risk factors.

PositiveTip: Red meat is not the only risk factor for breast cancer. A healthy lifestyle without alcohol or smoking with physical activity is very helpful too!

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Red Meat Raises Risk of Breast Cancer

Consumption of red meat in young adult women raises risk of breast cancer.

Eating large amounts of red meat in early adulthood increased the risk of breast cancer. Red meat consumption was analyzed for almost 90,000 women in the Nurses Health Study II. Those consuming the largest amount experienced a 22% increase in breast cancer risk compared to those eating the least. Swapping out red meat for legumes or poultry at one daily meal made a significant reduction.

PositiveTip: Replace red meat with legumes and other vegetable proteins to lower the risk of breast cancer.

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Outrun Breast Cancer

Breast cancer survivors benefit more from running than walking.

A study among breast cancer survivors found that runners who ran 2.25+ miles per day had a 95% reduced risk of breast cancer mortality, while walkers didn't show any significant reduction in risk. Previous larger-scale studies have found health benefits for both walking or running among breast cancer survivors. More research is needed to know if walking faster or longer might confer the same survival advantages.

PositiveTip: Ladies, exceed the recommended 2.5 hours per week of moderate physical activity to improve your odds of beating breast cancer.

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Higher Breast Cancer Risks in Girls Who Drink

Drinking between menarche and first pregnancy increases breast cancer risk.

Consuming alcohol between their first period and first pregnancy increases the risk for breast cancer in women by a significant 11% for each 10 grams consumed per day, compared to those who did not drink. While this data was based on self-reported questionnaires, it is consistent with other findings that moderate alcohol consumption is significantly linked with breast cancer risk.

PositiveTip: Eliminate alcohol consumption to effectively lower   breast cancer risk.

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Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer

Only 1/3 of U.S. infants are breastfed for 6 months.

Nonsmoking mothers who breastfed their infants for more than 6 months tend to get breast cancer on average 10 years later than those who breastfed for a shorter duration. Those who smoked got breast cancer about 9 years earlier than the nonsmokers. These findings come from an observational age-at-diagnosis study in Spain. Breastfeeding longer than 6 months conveys many health benefits to the child and protects the mother.

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Working Nights Increases Breast Cancer Risk

Working night shift for years raises breast cancer risk.

Working more than 30 years of night shift work appears to increase the risk of breast cancer by 2.21 fold when compared to no night shifts in the general population. These trends were the strongest in the health occupations, although risk increased in nonhealth occupations also. The mechanism is suspected to involve melatonin which regulates circadian rhythm based on light exposure and may protect from cancer.

PositiveTip: Trapped in night shift work? Maybe you could apply for a change or pursue a new career.