What are the Breast Reconstruction Options After a Mastectomy?

Deciding and planning to go for breast reconstruction options after a mastectomy is a huge emotional journey. With the advent of newer plastic surgery techniques, the results are quite natural and satisfactory. Ideally, a woman should be given a choice among the various reconstruction options.

The process begins by consulting plastic surgeons who specialise in reconstructive techniques. Understanding your option will help you make an informed decision that suits your needs. As many as 30% of women undergo breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy.

When it comes to breast reconstructive surgery, there are some options available mimicking the size, shape, and texture of your original breast tissue. Some of them might involve implants while others use grafts from your own body for reconstruction.

Here is a guide about what options are available which will best suit your needs.

Implant Reconstruction

This involves placement of saline or saline implants under the muscles in your chest where the breast tissue has been removed. If there is insufficient muscle left after surgery to carry out reconstruction, the surgeon makes use of an inflatable implant that is gradually filled with saline or silicon over time which allows for the skin of the growth to follow.

Suitability: Small breasts and petite frame

Duration: surgery takes around two hours with a recovery time of two weeks

Pros: Can be used for a double mastectomy as this is best known for symmetrical results

Cons: Not suitable if you intend to undergo radiotherapy afterward as hardening may result.

DIEP or TRAM Flap Reconstruction


A DIEP flap involves no muscle and consist of fat, skin and blood vessels cut from lower part of your body and implanted in place of your breast tissue.


This is a flap of rectus abdominis, a muscle from your lower abdomen (6 pack muscle) which could be free or pedicled.

Pros: the result is a breast soft in consistency and feels natural. The operation often lasts a lifetime.

Cons: This type of reconstruction is not possible for candidates already bearing scars on their abdomen from previous surgeries. These can droop over time.

LD Flap Reconstruction

LD stands for latissimus dorsi and is a muscle just below your shoulder blade. For reconstruction, it is brought round under the armpit and put over an implant to make a new breast.

Pros: This surgery is comparatively simpler than a DIEP or TRAM flap and requires lesser recovery time. Higher success rate come from the original blood supply that the flap carries with itself to its grated space.

Cons: people who have thicker or paler skin on their back may not have a colour match on the ventral surfaces of their body, i.e., where the breasts are.

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4 Foods That Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

As if you needed another reason to chow down on roasted edamame.

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First, the not-so-good news: No food is proven to prevent or cure any type of cancer, including breast cancer. Now the good news: There are many foods that can boost your overall health and in turn reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.

Being overweight is one of the main risk factors for breast cancer, so eating well and losing weight are excellent first steps toward lowering your breast cancer risk, says Alexandra Rothwell, RD, CDN, a specialist in oncology nutrition.

Inflammation is also linked with both breast cancer and being overweight, which is why Rothwell suggests eating foods that can help keep your blood sugar levels and inflammation in check. The following foods are pros at doing just that.

Olive Oil

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On top of all the other health benefits already linked to olive oil, the healthy fat may also be useful in reducing breast cancer risk. A September 2015 study found that adding 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to a diet rich in fruits and veggies could lower breast cancer risk by 68%.

And that’s not all: Olive oil may come with an additional benefit relating to breast density, which is another risk factor for breast cancer. A 2014 study of more than 3,500 women found that consuming an extra 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil each day was associated with lower breast density.


Breast cancer food, breast cancer healthy food

Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are all fish that Rothwell suggests adding to your diet because they are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. “We know that omega-3s help decrease inflammation in the body,” she says. You can also eat walnuts and seeds if you want a non-animal source.

And just like olive oil, eating more omega-3s may also be linked to a reduction in breast density, according to a 2014 study in Cancer Causes & Control.

Fruits and Vegetables

fruits for breast cancer treatment

All hail the power of the plant! Time and time again, studies have found that plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. And there are a few possible reasons: The more antioxidants in a diet, the lower the breast cancer risk may be, according to a 2015 study. Also, the fiber found in fruits and vegetables may fuel their ability to diminish risk, as reported in a 2011 European Journal of Nutrition paper.

Rothwell recommends eating cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower), allin vegetables (onions, leeks, and garlic), and Asian mushrooms (Shiitake, Chinese black, and oyster) in particular.

As for fruit, she says, Stick to low-sugar varieties, like berries, and limit high-sugar fruit, such as bananas, pineapples, and mangoes, so that you can keep your blood sugar levels normal.


breast cancer survivors

You’re probably thinking: But I thought soy was connected with increased breast cancer risk! Before you call us crazy, let’s clear the air: Yes, soy has estrogen-like compounds, and estrogen has been linked to some cancers. But no, soy foods do not cause breast cancer. Soy supplements may be less safe, but why would you consume your soy that way when you can chow down on roasted edamame?

In fact, multiple studies have associated soy with a reduced risk of breast cancer. However, there is an exception: If you are a carrier of the BRCA2 mutation gene, soy may increase your risk, according to 2013 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which found that soy products lowered risk in breast cancer carriers except those carrying the BRCA2 mutation.

Rothwell agrees that, in general, you can enjoy soy as part of a healthy diet without the fear that it will cause breast cancer. Just make sure that you are eating whole, organic soy products like the beans, tofu, and tempeh, because you don’t know what processing can do, she says.


Article Source: goodhousekeeping GH

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5 Methods to Cut Breast Cancer Risk

About one in every eight women will have breast cancer at some point in her life, but there are ways to lower chances.

More than 3.1 million women in the U.S. are living with breast cancer right now. Here are five ways to lower your risk.

First, watch your weight. One study found women who gained 21 to 30 pounds after age 18 were 40 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn’t gain more than five.

Another tip, spend less time sitting. In a study, women who sat for six hours a day or longer when not working had a ten percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who sat less than three hours.

Next, limit alcohol. Women who have two to three drinks a day have about a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who don’t drink. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than one alcoholic drink a day for women.

Lastly, if you do develop breast cancer, early detection is crucial for a good outcome.

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, said Dr. Cynthia Litwer, of Cedars-Sinai Imaging.

The five-year survival rate for breast cancer that’s found early is 99 percent. See your doctor right away if you feel a lump and make sure you have all recommended screening tests.

Some experts also recommend avoiding hormone replacement therapy. This treatment can up your risk of breast cancer. But if you stop taking it, your risk returns to normal within five years.


News Source: abc7chicago

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Top 10 Hale and hearty Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention

It is every woman’s duty to take care of their health. Here are some tips to protect your breasts from cancer.

Exercise Regularly: “Keep moving every day”. Exercise is your best friend when it comes to any health-related problem. The more you sweat, the more calories you burn and this helps you stay healthy.

Go for regular checkups: Visit your doctor every now and then, especially if you have any doubts. This is not a condition where you can think and postpone your doctor visit to the next month or even later. The earlier you get diagnosed, the earlier you will save yourself!

Know your family history: It is important to know your family history, because most cancers are hereditary. If anyone in your family suffers or has suffered from cancer, then you are prone to a high risk.

Encourage breast feeding: If you are a new mom, do not stop breast feeding for any reason. Breast feeding makes you and your baby stay healthy and energized. Besides giving good nutrition to the baby, it also helps to keep your breasts in good physical shape.

Choose the right food: Food plays a vital role for any problems we might have. Avoid charred meat, unfermented soy products, genetically engineered foods and sugar. Try to consume a good amount of iodine, foods rich in Vitamin A and D and naturally fermented food.

Reduce Stress: Stress is a waste of time – just try to relax! Engage yourselves in stuff that makes you feel busy. Stress is your health’s biggest enemy and the very best friend of all diseases.

Quit smoking: As everyone knows, drinking and smoking support and help cancer survive in our body. Quit smoking and alcohol today and protect yourself from this disease.

Focus on your weight: Studies show that women who have gained too much weight since the age of 18 are more likely to develop breast cancer. When you reach high obese levels then you are at a high risk. It is always considered safe to check on your weight scale and BMI rate.

Get a mammogram done: This is the best way to detect breast cancer. Some may say it has potential risks, but in the end, it gives an accurate result like no other method out there. It is recommended to do this type of screening every year.

Enough Sleep: Getting a good night sleep helps you stay healthy. Continuous 8 hours of sleep make the human mind and body feel fresh and relaxed. Some people don’t give it much credit but they should. Consult your doctor today and discuss this to get the right solution and stay on a safer side.

Also Read: Cancer doctors cite risks of drinking alcohol

Article Source: Ezine

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Risk of breast cancer recurrence lasts for decades

By Lisa Rapaport

Many women who follow initial breast cancer treatment with five years of hormone therapy to keep tumors at bay may still experience new malignancies up to two decades after their diagnosis, a study suggests.

Researchers examined data from 88 clinical trials involving 62,923 women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors. After treating ER-positive tumors with chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, women typically get five years of follow-up therapy with daily hormone-based pills – either tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors. The goal of the adjuvant therapy is to destroy any lingering cancer cells not killed by initial treatment.

All of the women were cancer-free when they completed five years of adjuvant hormone-based therapy.

During the next 15 years, however, cancer returned for 41% of the highest-risk women in the study who originally had the largest tumors that had spread the most beyond the breast, the study found.

Even the lowest-risk women who originally had small tumors that hadn’t spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body still had 10% odds of cancer coming back during the study, breast cancer research report online November 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

We know that adjuvant (hormone-based) therapy for 5 years substantially reduces the risk of recurrence and mortality,” said senior study author Dr. Daniel Hayes of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor.

We now have good evidence that extending adjuvant (hormone-based) therapy beyond five years continues to suppress and reduce recurrence and mortality,” Hayes said by email.

Doctors have long known that five years of tamoxifen reduces recurrence by approximately half during treatment, and by nearly a third over the next five years. Aromatase inhibitors, which work only in post-menopausal women, are even more effective than tamoxifen at reducing recurrence and death from breast cancer.

Some recent research suggests an additional five years of hormone-based therapy is even more effective, but the side effects make some women reluctant to continue. Life-threatening side effects are rare, but women taking these hormones can have menopause symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

The data suggest that women with ER-positive breast cancer should at least consider continuing adjuvant therapy beyond five years, the authors conclude.

Breast cancer cells can travel from the primary tumor to the lymph nodes and can circulate throughout the body undetectable with current screening (methods) and over time, these circulating cancer cells can attach to other organs in the body and this is generally when there is a detectable cancer recurrence,” said Albert Farias, a cancer researcher at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles who wasn’t involved in the study.

One way that adjuvant breast cancer treatment works is to kill and/or stop the undetectable cancer cells from growing and dividing, Farias said by email.

Even though the study suggests some women may have more risk of recurrence based on their original tumor characteristics, it can still be hard to predict and women need to remain vigilant, said Dr. Sharon Giordano of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Breast cancer can be dormant for many years, so that women can have no apparent disease, but can still recur years later if the tumor becomes active again, Giordano said by email. We do not know why some cancers become active again after years of dormancy.

Women need regular checkups and breast screenings, as well as annual mammograms, said Dr. Alana Biggers, a researcher at the University of Illinois-Chicago who wasn’t involved in the study.

If a woman is high risk for breast cancer, such as a lady with a gene mutation, she may need both mammograms and breast MRIs, Biggers added by email. Additionally, women should maintain a healthy weight, exercise, stop smoking, and limit alcohol consumption to reduce their risk of recurrence.

Also Read: Researchers Discover Link between Bacterial Levels and Breast Cancer

New’s Source: Business Insider

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Researchers Discover Link between Bacterial Levels and Breast Cancer

Differences in the bacterial composition of breast tissue have been revealed by researchers at Cleveland Clinic while studying the tissue of healthy women vs. those with breast cancer. What they’ve discovered is that the breast tissue of healthy women contains higher levels of the bacterial species Methylobacterium. This finding could help in the development of new, more effective breast cancer treatments moving forward.

Microbiomes are bacteria that live within the body that are responsible for influencing various diseases. Although we’ve known for a long time that microbiomes exist in the gut, we’ve never really explored them in the breast until more recently. This research is the first step toward understanding how this bacterium develops in the breast by looking at distinct microbial differences between the cancerous and healthy tissue samples.

To my knowledge this is the first study to examine both breast tissue and distant sites of the body for bacterial differences in breast cancer, said co-senior author of the study, chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute, and director of the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare, Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D. we hope to find a biomarker that would help us diagnose breast cancer quickly and easily.

The study involved examining the tissue of 78 patients who had been in the hospital for a mastectomy for elective cosmetic breast surgery or for invasive carcinoma. They also took both urine and oral rinse samples to determine the bacterial composition of these distant sites. In addition to the Methylobacterium find the researchers discovered that cancer patient’s urine samples had high levels of gram-positive bacteria which may be a key to understanding and developing better treatments for breast cancer.

If we can target specific pro-cancer bacteria, we may be able to make the environment less hospitable to cancer and enhance existing treatments. Larger studies are needed, but this work is a solid first step in better understanding the role significant role of bacterial imbalances in breast cancer, said co-senior author Stephen Grobymer, M.D.


New’s Source: TrendinTech


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15 Procedures You Can Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Here are some ways you can arm yourself with the best defense against this terrible disease.

Breast cancer affects us all

Breast cancer fundraising, breast cancer
The numbers are staggering. One in 8 (12.4 percent) U.S. women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that approximately 255,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. this year alone, and more than 40,000 lives will be lost to this disease. These are numbers we feel every day, as most people, regardless of who they are or where they live, are impacted by breast cancer in some way, whether it be a family member, friend, or colleague who has or knows someone who has this disease. While there’s much left out of a woman’s control when it comes to getting breast cancer, especially considering most cases appear randomly and do not always run in families, there are several important steps that can reduce this risk substantially. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, doctors share the steps you can take every day, week, month and year to put your best foot forward towards lowering your risk.

First things first: Know your family history

Breast cancer charity, breast cancer awareness
It’s standard procedure nowadays for nearly every type of doctor you see to inquire about your family history, as genetics have been proven to be a key contributor to an individual’s cancer risk and it’s especially important when it comes to breast cancer. Some women (and men) have an especially high risk of developing breast cancer related to inherited predisposition, history of radiation treatments to the chest wall during adolescence or early adulthood, or because of ‘overactive’ breast tissue that is sometimes detected on breast biopsies,” explains Lisa Newman MD, MPH, a member of Komen’s Scientific Advisory Board and director of the Breast Oncology Program for the Henry Ford Cancer Institute. Red flags that she says suggest possible inherited predisposition include having multiple relatives with breast or ovarian cancer, male relative(s) with breast cancer and relatives that were diagnosed with breast cancer at young ages. “Patients who are found to have an increased risk of breast cancer should then discuss risk-reducing options (such as medication or surgery) or more aggressive breast cancer screening options (such as mammograms starting at younger ages or a special breast imaging test called an MRI), adds Dr. Newman.

Perform self breast exams monthly

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While the American Cancer Society recently revised its guidelines on self breast exams, noting that there’s not enough research to support their clear benefits, experts agree that they’re still important and there’s absolutely no downside. Knowing what your baseline ‘lumps’ are so you’ll be able to immediately recognize when something feels new or different is key, says Phoebe Harvey, MD, chief of hematology/oncology for Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Oregon. Women who have naturally lumpy breasts often say they find it hard to know what’s ‘normal. Her best advice is to pay attention to lumps that feel unlike the rest of your breast tissue, for example, that are harder or just seem out of place. These should be checked out by your provider. There can also be visual clues as well, like a change in the size or shape of your breast, or dimpling of the skin, she adds. And if you do find a lump, don’t freak out.

Schedule yearly mammograms

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Women who have an average risk of breast cancer should begin having annual mammograms, basic x-rays of the breast, according to the American Cancer Society. However, there’s been a great deal of controversy in recent years with regard to the age and frequency. Experts recommend discussing your risk factors with your doctor to determine if a mammography before the age of 40 is right for you. Although getting screened for breast cancer does not reduce your risk, it can help identify the proper screening methods you should be using based on your risk factors and can help to identify cancer early when it is easiest to treat, explains Jane Kakkis, MD, medical director of breast surgery at MemorialCare Breast Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. If you are old enough to have a screening mammogram, Dr. Kakkis recommend also asking your doctor whether or not you have dense breast tissue. If you have dense breast tissue, then your risk of breast cancer is increased and, depending on other risk factors that you might have, your doctor may recommend supplementing your mammogram screening with ultrasound or MRI.

Maintain a normal body weight

breast cancer, women health
Among the laundry list of reasons why a healthy BMI (body mass index) is beneficial is that it has been known to significantly reduce your risk of cancer, as well as several other diseases including heart disease and diabetes. “One reason for this is that body fat produces estrogen, which increases the risk of developing breast cancer,” explains Dennis Holmes, MD, breast cancer surgeon and researcher and interim director of the Margie Petersen Breast Center at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. This is even more important as we get older, as Dr. Newman notes that women who are overweight or obese after menopause have a 30 to 60 percent higher breast cancer risk compared to those who are lean. Aim for a BMI that is between 18.5 to 24.9, as anything above is considered overweight and anything above 30 is considered obese.

Exercise several times a week

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According to Marc Hurlbert, Ph.D, breast cancer specialist and chief mission officer for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, physical activity may be the most potent lifestyle factor in reducing the risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause. “It not only helps in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, but exercise also reduces the levels of metabolic hormones including insulin and leptin, and it reduces levels of estrogen, all of which promote tumor growth,” he says. “Exercise may be most beneficial in overweight women who may have high levels of insulin and estrogen.” The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity, activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week.

Watch your diet

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When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, diet goes hand-in-hand with exercise. “Changes to your body as you age, and especially after menopause, make it necessary to change lifestyle and eating habits to maintain a healthy weight,” Dr. Kakkis explains. She recommends the Mediterranean diet, which incorporates a lot of fresh vegetables, healthy sources of fats, lean protein sources, and whole grains. “All of these, especially when coupled together, benefit your cardiovascular system and lead to a substantial amount of health benefits.” She does note, however, that even with a healthy diet, portion sizes should be appropriate, with the largest food group in each meal being vegetables. Also, do your best to eliminate preservative-laden foods, especially nitrates, as well as hormone and pesticide additives. “Soy concentrated products should be avoided by high-risk persons or breast cancer survivors, (soy supplements, soy milk, etc.) and natural food sources of soy, such as tofu should be limited to three small servings per day,” she says. “Using proper oils for deep frying is important, as oils that are heated past their optimal temperature develop chemicals known to cause cancer to enter the food.” Peanut oil is an example of oil that can be used for deep frying.

Cut down on the cocktails

Cancer research uk, Healthy diet
While it’s not exactly clear why, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests as little as one alcoholic beverage a day is enough to increase an individual’s risk of breast cancer. “Among other things, alcohol is thought to raise estrogen levels and can also contribute to weight gain,” explains Dr. Harvey. This can be a tough pill to swallow for those who enjoy a nightly cocktail or glass of wine, but Dr. Harvey urges that the correlation is strong enough. She advises people to strongly consider reducing their intake, especially since alcohol is a known risk factor for a number of other cancer types as well.

Quit smoking, stat

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Recent studies show that smoking, especially heavy smoking, may increase the risk of certain breast cancers,” says Dr. Hurlbert. “The effect may be stronger when a woman starts smoking before her first child.” Second-hand smoke plays a role in increasing a person’s risk too. “In animal studies, chemicals from first or second-hand smoke caused breast tumors and was found in the milk of nursing rodents,” he says. Bottom line: Smoking is terrible for your health and may be a catalyst for increasing your breast cancer risk. Quitting is your only option to reduce this risk.

Take aspirin or ibuprofen regularly

Aspirin, breast cancer charity uk
Seriously! Research has found that women who take two or more tablets of aspirin or ibuprofen each week for at least five years have a 20 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. “Taking these medications for more than 10 years lowers the risk even further,” notes Dr. Holmes. “Either mediation is capable of reducing chronic inflammation within the body, which can predispose some women to develop cancer.” While the ideal dose and frequency of use of aspirin or ibuprofen have not been determined, Dr. Holmes recommends women to consider taking a low dose of aspirin (81 mg) or ibuprofen (200 mg) twice a week if they’re not already doing so for other reasons.

Have children earlier in life (if possible)

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While the reasons aren’t totally clear, research suggests that women who conceive children earlier in life have a lower risk of breast cancer. The Nurses’ Health Study, for one, shows that women who give birth in their 20s compared to those who give birth in their 30s or later, have a reduced risk of breast cancer. “It is believed that the hormonal and other cellular effects of pregnancy influence the breast tissue positively and is protective against cancerous transformation,” explains Jack Jacoub, MD, medical oncologist and medical director of MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. Additionally, women who have multiple children see a decreased risk. One reason for this, notes Dr. Jacoub, is that pregnancy limits the periods of “incessant ovulation” over a woman’s lifetime. “This is when ovaries are functional and producing high levels of sex hormones, namely estrogen.

Breastfeed your baby

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While this isn’t always easy, or feasible, for all women, research shows that women who breastfeed, when compared to those who don’t, have a modestly decreased risk of breast cancer. “The effect is greatest in women who breastfeed for one and a half to two years,” notes Dr. Hurlbert. “Breastfeeding delays the return of menses after childbirth and this lowers the lifetime exposure to estrogen.” He also notes that total exposure to estrogen over a lifetime can increase the risk of breast cancer after menopause. “That’s one reason why having children is also protective, as a woman’s estrogen levels drop during pregnancy.

Limit oral contraceptive use

Following on the discussion about exposure to estrogen, oral contraceptives increase this exposure,” says Dr. Hurlbert. In other words, women who use oral contraceptive have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer compared to those that don’t. “The risk decreases over time after stopping contraceptive use and women who have not taken contraceptives for more than ten years are no longer at increased risk from contraceptive use.” He recommends that women discuss their use of hormone-based contraception with their doctors to determine what is best for their particular health concerns and situation

Quit menopausal hormone use

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The practice of using menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) to relieve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances, has been used for more than a century, but recently it’s been linked to an increase in breast cancer risk. “The combination of estrogen plus progestin for several years increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer and can make mammograms more difficult to interpret,” explains Dr. Newman. “You can reverse some of this risk by discontinuing these hormones.” She recommends talking with your doctor about safe alternatives to control menopausal symptoms.

Preventative surgery

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Although all women are at risk of developing breast cancer, some women are at particularly high risk because of personal health factors and family history. These “high risk” women, many of which are carriers of the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genetic mutations, should consider taking preventative action, which often involves surgery, to dramatically reduce their risk of breast cancer. “If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, genetic testing is highly recommended so you can better understand your options,” says Nikita Shah, MD, breast cancer specialist at the Breast Care Center at Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, especially before age 40, ask your doctor about getting tested for the BRCA gene. In some cases, your doctor may recommend you go ahead with a preventative surgery, such as removal of the breasts, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes, to reduce your risk of getting cancer.

Understand how your community and identity can affect your risk

breast cancer charity, breast cancer fundraising
Research suggests that those with certain ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds may be at a predisposition to be diagnosed with breast cancer, for example, Ashkenazi Jewish families have a significantly higher risk of carrying mutations or abnormalities, Dr. Newman notes. “We also know that breast cancer mortality and death rates are significantly higher among African American compared to white American women.” She explains that this disparity is related to socioeconomic disadvantages and healthcare access barriers that are more prevalent in the African American community, but it has also been shown that a biologically more aggressive pattern of breast cancer (triple negative breast cancer) is twice as common among African American compared to White American women. Breast health awareness and early detection or screening programs, as well as research, are essential to address and eliminate these disparities, so use what is available to you and use it wisely.


Article Source: Reader’s Digest

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Support more funding for research of metastatic breast cancer

This month marks the two-year anniversary of my first breast cancer diagnosis and just one year since the cancer spread beyond my breasts and to my bones. With four children — ages 3, 5, 7 and 11 — I can’t begin to describe how it felt to be told that my cancer is incurable.

Metastatic breast cancer is stage IV breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Someone with this cancer dies every 13 minutes in the U.S.

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, I ask that you not forget about the 155,000 men and women in America living with metastatic breast cancer and fighting for their lives each day. While 20 percent to 30 percent of people initially diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will develop metastatic breast cancer, the funding to support research specific to this cancer is greatly disproportionate to the number affected. Only 7 percent of the $15 billion of funding for breast cancer research is specifically allocated to finding a cure for metastatic breast cancer.

For me, there is no time to debate funding and policy issues within our country’s health care system. My life with cancer depends on access to regular treatments, and it depends on advances in research for new treatments and someday, a cure. I’d like more time with my kids, my family and my friends — which means we cannot just recognize this disease in October.

Please sign the It’s About Time campaign’s petition, which reminds our state leaders to protect our access to treatment through affordable insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs. If it gives even just one person with metastatic breast cancer more time to be with the ones that they love, it’s worth it.


Article Source: ST.Louis Post-Dispatch (Stltoday)

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Breast cancer study uncovers new genetic variants for increased risk

Researchers hope new discoveries will help explain why some women are predisposed to breast cancer, as well as why certain forms are harder to treat.

Common inherited genetic variants that together increase the risk of breast cancer by about a fifth have been identified by scientists.
A huge team of researchers working together around the world uncovered 65 new variants. On their own, they contribute around 4% of the two-fold heightened risk of women with a strong family history of breast cancer developing the disease.
Adding these variants to the list of 180 already known is thought to account for an estimated 18% of the relative familial risk.

In addition, a further 10 genetic variants specifically linked to stubborn breast cancers that do not respond to hormone treatment were found. They could be responsible for as much as 16% of the increased risk of this cancer sub-type in women from affected families.

The OncoArray Consortium project involved 550 researchers from around 300 different institutions on six continents. The scientists analysed genetic data from 275,000 women, including 146,000 who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Professor Doug Easton, one of the lead investigators from Cambridge University, said: These findings add significantly to our understanding of the inherited basis of breast cancer.

As well as identifying new genetic variants, we have also confirmed many that we had previously suspected.

There are some clear patterns in the genetic variants that should help us understand why some women are predisposed to breast cancer, and which genes and mechanisms are involved.

Genetic studies of this sort look for loci – regions of DNA that increase the risk of disease. The loci may contain rogue genes, or DNA sequences that do not contain instructions for making proteins but regulate gene activity.

Pinpointing specific genes is difficult, but the OncoArray scientists were able to make predictions about many target genes a first step towards designing new treatments.

However most of the new variants found were in gene-regulating regions. When the researchers took a closer look at these, they found distinct patterns specific to breast cancer.

US co-author Professor Peter Kraft, from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said the findings revealed a wealth of new information about the genetic mechanisms underlying the disease.

This should provide guidance for a lot of future research, he added.

Approximately 70% of all breast cancers are fuelled by the hormone oestrogen and respond to hormone therapies such as tamoxifen.

Others, known as oestrogen-receptor negative, are not affected by the hormone and are more difficult to treat. Ten new genetic variants linked to these cancers were identified.

The new studies, published in the journals Nature and Nature Genetics, underscored the fact that the two cancer types are biologically distinct and develop differently.

Mutant versions of the two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have by far the biggest impact on breast cancer risk. Inheriting either of these genes raises the lifetime risk of developing the disease by as much as 90% for BRCA1 and 85% for BRCA2. It also increases the risk of ovarian cancer to a lesser degree.

Other genetic variants linked to breast cancer are much less potent on their own, but their effects add up. Those identified in the new studies are relatively common some carried by one woman in 100 and others by more than half of all women. The combined effect of these variants is likely to be considerable said the researchers.

They estimate that 1% of women have a risk of breast cancer more than three times greater than that of women in the general population. Combining the genetic factors with hormonal and lifestyle influences was likely to increase the risk further, they said.

Professor Jacques Simard, from Laval University in Quebec city, Canada, another member of the international team, said: Using data from genomic studies, combined with information on other known risk factors, will allow better breast cancer risk assessment, therefore helping to identify a small but meaningful proportion of women at high risk of breast cancer.

These women may benefit from more intensive screening, starting at a younger age, or using more sensitive screening techniques, allowing early detection and prevention of the disease.


Article Source: The Guardian

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Five Breast Cancer Myths You Should be Aware Of

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual occasion to increase awareness of the disease. If you perform a quick search on the disease, you will find tremendous information on contributing factors to the risk of breast cancer, including some types of food, drinks, cleaning materials and even devices. This information leads to confusion on what to believe as fact and what to ignore as a myth.

Marking this important awareness-raising month, we present to you this information on five of the most circulated myths about the disease.

Myth No 1: Drinking milk (or dairy) causes breast cancer

some early studies raised concerns about the correlation between drinking milk from cows treated with hormones and the risk of cancer. The truth is that over many decades, studies failed to find a clear link and have shown that dairy consumption does not increase the risk of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Moreover, the International Journal of Epidemiology published in 2002 the results of 20 studies on the relationship between dairy and increased risk of cancer. All the studies showed that there is no significant association between intakes of total dairy fluids or solids and breast cancer.

Myth No 2: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer

The truth is that there is no conclusive evidence on links between the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Some people have concerns that deodorants and antiperspirants block the body from sweating toxin which might build up in the lymph glands under the armpit causing breast cancer. But the human body has several other ways of disposing of toxins that do not involve the lymph glands. Furthermore, the “Breast Cancer Care” initiative explained there is also no evidence ingredients used in deodorants and antiperspirants like aluminum or parabens cause breast cancer.

Myth No 3: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer

The truth is that only a small percentage of breast lumps are cancer. However, it is very important to see a physician for a clinical breast exam if you notice a persistent lump in the breast or any changes in breast tissue. A physician is the only one who can determine whether this lump or change is of concern or not. Furthermore, it is essential to keep the habit of performing routine breast self-exams and getting an annual clinical breast exam, including scheduling routine mammograms.

Myth No 4: Men do not get breast cancer, it is a women’s only disease

While the percentage of breast cancer occurrence is small among men, they are also affected by the disease. In fact, breast cancer leads to higher mortality among men compared to women as a result of the lack of awareness that they can also be affected by the disease, which leads to delay in seeking treatment.

Men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam in the shower to discover any hard lump underneath the nipple and areola so that they can report these changes to their physicians.

Myth No 5: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread 

The truth is that any breast compression while getting a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread. Also, the benefits of mammograms outweigh the potential harm from radiation exposure as they require very small doses of radiation, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The standard recommendation is an annual mammographic screening for women and men, in addition to any other recommendation by the physician.

Myth No 6: Breast cancer is contagious

Breast cancer cannot transfer to someone else’s body. The disease results of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast. Everyone can reduce their risk of being affected by the disease by practicing a healthy lifestyle and being aware of the risk factors and following an early detection routine.

There are some things that can help us avoid breast cancer like keeping a healthy weight, paying attention to your alcohol consumption, stop smoking and keeping active. While there are some factors that we cannot control like aging and exposure to high levels of radiation can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Read More: About Breast Cancer

Article Source: Egypt Today

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