In the spirit of breast cancer awareness month, we have a look at the risk factors that increase the possibility of breast cancer. The best way to be healthy in any way is to avoid risk factors and live a balanced lifestyle: maintain a healthy body weight, exercise and don’t smoke. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer.
According to cancer.gov, these are the 10 biggest risk factors for breast cancer:
A women’s risk of developing breast cancer is about one hundred times a man’s risk.
2. Being older of age
The risk of breast cancer in a 70 year old woman is about 10 times that of a 30 year old woman.
3. Personal or family history of breast cancer or breast disease
Breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), benign (noncancer) breast disease and a family history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter).
4. Inherited gene changes
Inherited gene changes depends on the type of gene mutation, family history of cancer, and other factors
5. Dense breasts
How dense the breast tissue is. Women with very dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer than women with low breast density. Increased breast density is often an inherited trait, but it may also occur in women who have not had children, have a first pregnancy late in life, take postmenopausal hormones, or drink alcohol
6. Estrogen made in the body
Estrogen is a hormone made by the body. It helps the body develop and maintain female sex characteristics. Being exposed to estrogen over a long time may increase the risk of breast cancer. Estrogen levels are highest during the years a woman is menstruating.
A woman’s exposure to estrogen is increased in the following ways:
•Early menstruation: Beginning to have menstrual periods at age 11 or younger increases the number of years the breast tissue is exposed to estrogen.
•Late menopause : The more years a woman menstruates, the longer her breast tissue is exposed to estrogen.
•Late pregnancy or never being pregnant: Because estrogen levels are lower during pregnancy, breast tissue is exposed to more estrogen in women who become pregnant for the first time after age 35 or who never become pregnant
7. Hormone therapy
Hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can be made into a pill form in a laboratory. Estrogen, progestin, or both may be given to replace the estrogen no longer made by the ovaries in postmenopausal women or women who have had their ovaries removed. This is called hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or hormone therapy (HT). Combination HRT/HT is estrogen combined with progestin. This type of HRT/HT increases the risk of breast cancer. Studies show that when women stop taking estrogen combined with progestin, the risk of breast cancer decreases.
8. Exposure to radiation
Radiation therapy to the chest for the treatment of cancer increases the risk of breast cancer, starting 10 years after treatment. The risk of breast cancer depends on the dose of radiation and the age at which it is given. The risk is highest if radiation treatment was used during puberty, when breasts are forming.
Radiation therapy to treat cancer in one breast does not appear to increase the risk of cancer in the other breast.
Especially in postmenopausal women who have not used hormone replacement therapy.
The level of risk rises as the amount of alcohol consumed rises.
The following do not affect the risk of breast cancer Having an abortion Making diet changes such as eating less fat or more fruits and vegetables.
•Taking vitamins, including fenretinide (a type of vitamin A).
•Cigarette smoking, both active and passive (inhaling secondhand smoke).
•Using underarm deodorant or antiperspirant.
•Taking statins (cholesterol -lowering drugs)
Preventing Cancer with Rooibos
Flavonoids in Rooibos work as antioxidants – a major protagonist in preventing cancer – as well as in slowing down its progress. Research found that, as a major cause of cancer is damage of the genetic material, the rising level of glutathione associated with Rooibos tea could prevent genetic damages from happening. Due to a polyphenic-rich extract in Rooibos, this indicates potential for use in cosmeceuticals for sun protection and as part of a strategy for preventing non-melanoma skin cancers in humans.
If we take care to live healthily and to be informed of our own personal risk, we can prevent breast cancer to some degree in ourselves and our children. To read more on cancer and breast cancer, visit www.cancer.gov
Annique Day Spa stocks all the Annique Health and Beauty Rooibos products.
Annique Beauty Salon & Day Spa
195 Constance Avenue
012 654 0602/7