Two genes are associated with the risk of having hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Here are things to know about this condition and factors you might be able to control if you have learned of this gene mutation in your family.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes help repair DNA and regulate cell growth. A mutation in these genes often means that a person is at significant increased risk for genetic breast and ovarian cancer.
Overweight and obese women — defined as having a BMI (body mass index) over 25 — have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight also can increase the risk of the breast cancer coming back (recurrence) in women who have had the disease. This higher risk is because fat cells make estrogen; extra fat cells mean more estrogen in the body, and estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers develop and grow
Eating Unhealthy Food
Diet is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers.
Mammograms can save your life.Finding breast cancer early reduces your risk of dying from the disease by 25-30% or more. Women should begin having mammograms yearly at age 40, or earlier if they’re at high risk.
Don’t be afraid.Mammography is a fast procedure (about 20 minutes), and discomfort is minimal for most women. The procedure is safe: there’s only a very tiny amount of radiation exposure from a mammogram. To relieve the anxiety of waiting for results, try to go to a center that will give you results before you leave.
I was shocked to see that 72% of people think that advanced breast cancer (by definition, that’s stage IV or metastatic disease) could be cured, and that half of those surveyed thought that it was basically a woman’s own fault if she ended up with metastatic disease. For the record, once breast cancer is considered advanced, it’s not curable. Current treatments aim to control quality of life issues, and are considered successful if the cancer doesn’t get any worse. Maintenance without progression is the goal. While many women can live years in this “maintenance without progression” zone, they will likely die as a result of their metastatic breast cancer.
Breast cancer facts:
- About one in eight women in the Africa will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, behind skin cancer.
- Two of three breast cancers are found in women 55 or older.
- Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.
- Breast cancer survivorship has tripled over the past 60 years.
Risk factors for breast cancer:
- Gender: A woman is 200 times more likely than a man to develop breast cancer.