ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than 43,000 women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer in 2021. Many of these will be hard-to-treat cancers and cancers that were detected in late stages. However, when breast cancer is found early and has not spread, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent. Ivanhoe has some facts that can help people know their breast cancer risk.
According to a survivornet.com survey, one in three women have delayed their annual mammogram and 45 percent say they’re nervous about visiting their doctor since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The mammogram is basically the gold standard and that’s the one that’s been studied the most and has shown to actually decrease deaths from breast cancer,” explained Cynthia Litwer, MD, a radiologist at Cedars-Sinai Imaging.
In fact, research from Canada says that cancers found in between mammograms are three-point-five times more deadly than breast cancer found during screenings. The longer you delay the screening the more opportunity the cancer has to grow. Another surprising fact: breastfeeding can lower a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Doctors say it would be ideal to breastfeed for at least six months to a year. Also, a NYU study found a heart attack can increase your risk for breast cancer recurrence by nearly 60 percent, and tattoos can complicate breast cancer screenings. Tattoo pigment can gravitate to lymph nodes and that can register as a false alarm mammogram. Experts say the best way to protect yourself is to get screened early.
“We also recommend women have a physician breast exam beginning or the end around age 25 on an annual basis,” shared Thomas Samuel, MD, an oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida.
It may just save your life.
Another important fact: breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in pregnant women or women who have recently given birth.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
SURPRISING BREAST CANCER FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. It was estimated in 2020, that approximately 30% of all new cancer diagnoses in women would be breast cancer. Although rare, men do get breast cancer too. It was estimates in 2020, an estimated 2,620 men would be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. and approximately 520 will die. Approximately 64% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage (there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast), for which the 5-year survival rate is 99%. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part due to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.
BREAST CANCER PREVENTION: There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk. Weight gain as an adult is linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause. The American Cancer Society recommends you stay at a healthy weight throughout your life. Studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Low levels of alcohol intake have even been linked with an increase in risk, so it is best not to drink alcohol. For women who do drink, they should have no more than one alcoholic drink a day.
NEW STUDY LINKING BREAST CANCER AND DIET: Research showing dietary modifications that could lead to reduced breast cancer recurrence has been published by Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, MD, head of the Women’s Health research at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota. “Our study indicates that imbalance in the gut microbiota may be involved in determining who develops breast cancer recurrence” said Dr. Hilakivi-Clarke. “This is important because when we corrected the imbalance, also called gut dysbiosis, by feeding experimental animals genistein, the increase in breast cancer recurrence was prevented.” The team found that consuming genistein after breast cancer had responded to tamoxifen not only prevented recurrence, but also reversed the increase in the abundance of inflammatory gut bacteria and gut metabolites linked to increased mortality. The great challenge for breast cancer researchers is to be able to predict which patient might recur 15-20 years after the initial diagnosis, and how to prevent and treat these recurrences. The team is next trying to determine if the gut dysbiosis in the daughters of obese mothers is causing the increase in breast cancer recurrence and identify other dietary factors, or pre- or probiotics that reverse their gut dysbiosis.
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