Staying on top of the latest research and recommendations can be life saving.
It’s likely that someone you know has gotten breast cancer; the current rate is one out of every eight women, approximately 246,000 people are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year.1 Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. These statistics are scary, but the key to prevention is knowledge.
It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so check out the following quick facts and guidelines sourced from the latest data and the experts on the frontlines.
- The good news is that breast cancer rates are decreasing. There are a few reasons cases of breast cancer are dropping. In 2002-2003, doctors found a link between HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and breast cancer. Just that abating of HRT saw a 7% drop in that year.1
- Mortality rates continue to decline since 1989, a shift that researchers credit to early intervention. Cancer can be detected when it is the size of pin head, and with fast-growing cancer, that can be the life-or-death difference.
- Because we are able to see far deeper into the genes, we understand contributing factors more comprehensively, for example, 5-10% of breast cancer patients can attribute it to a mutated gene, called BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women born with these genes run roughly 50% more likely of developing breast cancer. In a bold move a few years ago, Angelina Jolie announced she was getting a double mastectomy because she was genetically predisposed toward breast and ovarian cancer1.
- Advances in more strategic and selective anti-cancer drugs provide promise. Recent development of a group of enzymes called KDM5 histone demethylases appear to inhibit regrowth of cancer cells at Emory University School of Medicine.2
- The latest data suggests women perform self-exam at least once a week from the age of 20 on. Women over 45 should get a mammogram once a year, according to the American Cancer Society.3
- Signs include lumps, changes in color, a rash around the nipple, a change in shape or discharge. If you see these signs, book a doctor’s appointment.
- The biggest factors in prevention are diet and exercise. In fact, even if you have cancer in your genes, you can turn that predisposition around in one generation through staying active and eating right. Reason number 1001 to take care of yourself.
We have to walk the walk when it comes to disease prevention. Breast cancer will one day be history, but right now, our most powerful weapon is taking charge of our own personal health and science.