National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, experts from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre and its clinical care partner, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, are offering research-based tip sheets related to breast cancer, including breast cancer prevention, screening and early detection, treatment, and survivorship.
The series launches on Sunday with ‘10 Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention’ provided by Anne McTiernan, director of the Hutchinson Centre’s Prevention Centre, a member of the Centre’s Public Health Sciences Division, and author of “Breast Fitness” (St. Martin’s Press).
10 tips for breast cancer prevention
1. Avoid becoming overweight. Obesity raises the risk of breast cancer after menopause, the time of life when breast cancer most often occurs. Try to maintain a body-mass index under 25.
2. Eat healthy to avoid tipping the scale. Embrace a diet high in vegetables and fruit and low in sugared drinks, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods. Eat lean protein such as fish or chicken breast and eat red meat in moderation, if at all. Eat whole grains. Choose vegetable oils over animal fats.
3. Keep physically active, even when begun later in life. It reduces overall breast-cancer risk by about 10 per cent to 30 per cent. All it takes is moderate exercise like a 30-minute walk five days a week.
4. Drink little or no alcohol. Alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
5. Avoid hormone replacement therapy. Menopausal hormone therapy increases risk for breast cancer. If you must take hormones to manage menopausal symptoms, avoid those that contain progesterone and limit their use to less than three years. “Bioidentical hormones” and hormonal creams and gels are no safer than prescription hormones and should also be avoided.
6. Consider taking an oestrogen-blocking drug. Women with a family history of breast cancer or who are over age 60 should talk to their doctor about the pros and cons of oestrogen-blocking drugs such as tamoxifen and raloxifene.
7. Don’t smoke. Research suggests that long-term smoking is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in some women.
8. Breast-feed your babies for as long as possible. Women who breast-feed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later.
9. Participate in a research study. The Hutchinson Centre is home to several studies that are looking at ways to reduce the risk for breast cancer.
10. Get fit and support breast cancer research at the same time. Regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. Ascend some of the world’s most breathtaking peaks while raising vital funds for and awareness of breast cancer research by participating in the Hutchinson Center’s annual Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.