There are specific breast cancer risks for women 40 and over. A research study conducted by the American Cancer Society demonstrated that a few hours of walking or participating in other forms of exercise each week may help cancer survivors live longer by helping to maintain healthy weight.
Exercise can also help reduce the risk of Breast Cancer in women who have never been diagnosed. An important statistic featured in research conducted by The American Cancer Society, states that women who have gained more than 20 pounds since age 18 have a higher risk of developing Breast Cancer – especially after menopause.
Other research points out that weight issues and obesity in the United states may be related to 20% of cancer deaths in women and 14% in men, and also contribute to 90,000 cancer deaths each year.
Dr. Carolyn Runowicz, President of the American Cancer Society, explains that the best way to reduce Breast cancer risk is by maintaining healthy weight and being physically active on a consistent basis — as one third of all cancer deaths could be prevented through nutrition, physical activity and better lifestyle choices. Simple physical activities like going on a walk or working in your yard help to preventing cancer.
One of the tips suggested by many nutritionists is being careful about portion control. Over the years, portions can have gotten larger in restaurants and it is especially important to be sure not to overeat when at a restaurant. When you order food at a restaurant, ask the waiter to pack half of the portion for you to take home with you.
Portion control can make a huge difference in your weight. Many doctors recommend eating several small meals throughout the day, rather than three large meals. By eating smaller meals, you will be able to digest your food and also control portions in a practical way. This strategy will help you maintain a healthy weight for the purpose of reducing your risk of Breast Cancer.
Other Breast Cancer Risks for Women 40 and Over
Other risk factors include whether or not it runs in your family.
Current statistics show that 200,000 women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer each year in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Debbie Saslow, Director of Breast and Gynecological Research explained that all women are at risk for Breast cancer, however some women may think they have a family history when, indeed, they do not.
Although it can be traumatic to lose a loved one to Breast Cancer and reasonably cause some women to be anxious about their own risk level, it is important to realize the many variables to consider when evaluating one’s own risk.
Some important points to remember related to one’s own personal risk in connection with Breast Cancer include the following variables:
- How many relatives were diagnosed with Breast Cancer?
- Ages of relatives when they were diagnosed
- Were they also diagnosed with ovarian cancer?
Some studies have shown that if a woman has 1-2 relatives who were diagnosed with Breast Cancer after the age of 50, the risk increases, but in comparison to a woman without any relatives in her family who were diagnosed with Breast Cancer, the risk would not be much higher for that woman.
Breast cancer risks for women 40 and over would increase for someone with 2-3 relatives diagnosed with Breast Cancer on the same side of the family. Further, the risk always increases with the number of relatives diagnosed with Breast Cancer – especially on the same side of the family.
The best way to determine one’s own personal risk is to consult with a genetic counselor, or physician. There is a questionnaire they will give you and a special tool they use to measure the levels of risk in individual women. After you have consulted with your physician, or genetic counselor, you will feel better knowing you have taken a proactive step to reduce your worry.
Another point to keep in mind is that studies have been done to prove that many of the things we worry about, may in reality, never actually happen. The fact is, 80% of women who are diagnosed with Breast cancer, never actually had a family history of Breast Cancer, and bearing that in mind may help keep things in proper perspective.
Support groups can also be very helpful during times of loss, or grief. The greatest benefit from being part of a support group is knowing — you are not alone.
What is Your Breast Cancer Awareness Level?
As the numbers continue to grow, the question inevitably arises about how knowledgeable women are concerning the risk factors and early detection.
The following brief survey may help you go up on the learning curve concerning important issues regarding breast cancer.
Answer True or False? Award yourself one point for each correct answer.
1.Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the United States.Answer: True
It is the most common diagnosis after skin cancer.
2. Caucasian women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than any other race, or ethnicity in the United States.Answer: False.
Caucasian women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. However, African-American women are more likely to die from the disease than are women of any other race, or ethnicity in the U.S.
3. Mammography is the most effective available method of detecting breast cancer in the early, treatable stages.Answer: True
The U.S. Preventative Task Force suggests that women over 40 years old, or older have a screening every 1 or 2 years.
4. Research has identified several factors that may affect a women’s risk of developing breast cancer.Answer: True
The risk factors include: Personal history of breast cancer, Being overweight after menopause, Physical inactivity, Drinking alcohol, Use of oral contraceptives
5. It is estimated that more than 10 billion dollars a year is spent in the United States on breast cancer research.Answer: False
7 billion dollars a year is spent on treatment of breast cancer in the United States, not research.
6. To help improve women’s access to screening for breast cancer, Congress passed an Act in 1990.Answer: True
Congress passed the breast cancer and cervical cancer Mortality Prevention Act in 1990.
7. Studies show that early detection of breast cancer can save lives.Answer: True
Women who are 40 or above and have regular screenings, can reduce mortality by approximately 20-25% during a period of ten years.
How did you score?
1-2 pts= need to grow in awareness
3-4 pts= on your way
5 pts or more= Kudos! Share your awareness!