With the high incidence of breast cancer in women of menopause and post menopause age, there is an urgency in learning how to prevent this condition from developing. While there is no fool proof method for preventing this disease, there are ways that the risk factors can be lessened. While the aging process is one of the leading factors that cannot be changed, there are others that can.
Risk factors for developing breast cancer after menopause
In addition to age, other static risk factors include family history of the disease, genetic factors such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, breast tissue density, personal history of breast cancer, and beginning menses prior to age 12. Although these cannot be altered there are other risk factors that can be reduced. These include prolonged synthetic hormone therapies, obesity/weight gain and lifestyle habits that increase the risks.
How changes in menopause treatments can lessen risk factors for breast cancer
Women who use standard hormone replacement therapy that relies upon synthetically created estrogen may increase their risk of developing breast cancer after age 55. Studies show that this type of treatment poses a higher risk when used over 5 years in duration by 20% when estrogen alone is used. The addition of progestin or progesterone slightly reduces breast cancer risk with Hormone Replacement Therapy.
If hormonal imbalances present a problem, a better solution may be the use of natural hormonal supplements. Plants containing compounds known as phytoestrogens and isoflavones are used in the production of natural hormone supplements. These substances act like estrogen in the body and have been found effective in alleviating menopause symptoms. There are few if any side effects associated with their use, and no long term health risks associated to date.
Child birth and breast feeding
Having no children or bearing them after age 30 increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Experts say that women who have children younger and who breast feed them as long as possible lower their chances of developing breast cancer in the future.
The role that diet plays in breast cancer prevention
Studies have shown that obesity and extra weight gained during menopause can help increase the risks for breast cancer. Although research has shown that eating extra fruits and vegetables in itself does not affect the risk of breast cancer, the key lies in maintaining a healthy body weight.
Exercise to lower risk factors
Being physically active helps in the maintenance of a healthy body weight which. This is the correlation between exercise and breast cancer risk prevention. In addition to maintaining a healthy body weight, exercise will help lower risk factors for developing other serious conditions after menopause such as cardiovascular disease.
Lifestyle changes that lower breast cancer risks
Avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol can significantly reduce your risks. In addition, quit smoking now and avoid second hand smoke whenever possible. Recent studies suggest that there is a correlation between smoking and the development of breast cancer in premenopausal women.
Limit radiation exposure and environmental pollutants
Studies suggest that women who are exposed to high levels of radiation from diagnostic imaging services have an increased risk for breast cancer. Experts recommend that this type of testing be limited inasmuch as is possible. Other carcinogens include chemicals from some workplace environments, gasoline vapors and the exhaust from vehicles.
Regular breast exams
Women who conduct regular self-breast examinations are more likely to detect an abnormality while it is highly treatable. If a lump or other suspicious change in the breast is observed, this can be reported to a woman's health care provider for follow up testing and observation. While breast cancer cannot be fully prevented, early detection can result in higher success rates for treatment.
Women can significantly reduce their risk factors by taking steps to avoid risky behaviors. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding environmental carcinogens whenever possible and adopting healthy eating habits are a few options. In addition, the use of natural hormone replacement supplements over synthetically engineered hormones may be healthier options in the long term. By quitting smoking, and lessening the intake of alcoholic beverages and char broiled foods, the odds are getting better for avoiding breast cancer. The combination of preventative measures can add up to a big difference in lowering risk for breast cancer.