Friday, March 26, 2010

Avoiding Breast Cancer With Lifestyle Choices . . Is It Really That Simple?

A new study was recently released about decreasing the incidence of breast cancer with changes in lifestyle specifically exercise and diet. If women lost weight and just exercised more they could decrease their chances of getting breast cancer. It cites that "25-30 percent of breast cancers could be avoided if women were thinner and exercised more. . . " Fat cells excrete estrogen so I do understand that aspect of it as most breast cancers including mine are estrogen fed. Now while I understand the reasoning I cannot help but wonder. . . Is it that simple? Before my diagnosis I was exercising and I was not overweight. So apparently those two things did not help me avoid a diagnosis. I also was not a smoker nor did I drink which are other lifestyle choices that can increase risk. So where was my benefit?

I think about my grandma who ate whatever she wanted in moderation and lived to be 85 staying out of the hospital and away from doctors until the last year of her life. I think about how when she bought her meat it was not laden with antibiotics and her produce was not drenched in pesticides. That was during a time when cancer incidence was much lower than it is today.

Something I found particularly interesting in the article was this statement regarding genetics and cancer. . . "The genes have been there for thousands of years but if cancer rates are changing within a lifetime that doesn't have much to do with genes." The majority of breast cancer diagnosis' are in women with no family history myself included. I think that what also needs to be explored is the environmental causes I noted above as well as emotional stress and its toll on the body. I am glad to hear there is much needed discussion as to the causes of breast cancer I would just like to see it have a wider view.

I don't know about you but I sure would have like to have "avoided" my cancer diagnosis.

What did you think of this story? Do you think that lifestyle factors can increase risk of cancer? When stories like this come out does it make you want to blame yourself for your disease?

1 comment:

Sherry said...

I think that article is "rot". My grandmother had breast cancer but they say that isn't considered a genetic link...a generation skipped. No other breast cancer that I know of in my family so for me, not genetic.

If changing our lifestyles made a difference there would be NO breast cancer. Exercise? Diet? No alcohol, breast feeding vs. not, taking the pill or not taking the pill...the list goes on, doesn't it?

Then how does that explain young women and I'm talking young as in teenage who develop the disease? And men?

Environmental is a key factor/culprit in my opinion and other than that it is simply the fact that

We Have Two Breasts.

Great post Cathy.