Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women, following skin cancer. It occurs in men as well, but is far less common. Numerous public campaigns have substantially raised awareness of breast cancer. However, University of Cincinnati medical oncologists, Dr. Neetu Radhakrishnan and Dr. Mahmoud Charif have recently disproved some common myths about breast cancer.
Myth: Red Meat Increases Breast Cancer Risk
The doctors revealed that no scientific studies link consumption of red meat to breast cancer. However, numerous studies have linked consumption of alcohol to breast cancer. Drinking one alcoholic beverage per day increases a female's risk of breast cancer by 10 percent. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of other cancers as well, such as throat, esophageal, liver, and oral.
Myth: Breast Cancer is All in Your Genes
The majority of females diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history or genetic mutation linked to breast cancer. A woman's risk of breast cancer goes up, as she grows older, but so does the risk of developing other types of cancer. The University of Cincinnati doctors attribute most cases of breast cancer to environmental exposure and lifestyle.
Myth: Hormone Replacement Therapy Does Not Increase Risk
Studies show that postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy in the form of estrogen and progesterone significantly increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. Additionally, Females who experience early menstruation, before age 12, and late menopause, after age 55, are at increased risk of developing breast cancer due to prolonged exposure to the female hormone estrogen.
Myth: Breast Pain and/or Lumps Always Signify Breast Cancer
Women have pain and/or lumps in their breasts for many reasons other than cancer, such as during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. Monthly menstruation cycles may cause changes in breast tissue as well due to rising and falling hormone levels. If breast lumps or pains persist, consult a medical professional.
Myth: Only Intense Exercise Decreases Breast Cancer Risk
Studies show that small amounts of moderate physical activity significantly reduce a female's risk for developing breast cancer. Most adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of light physical activity in the form of walking, bicycling, housecleaning, or other movement three to four days a week in order to reduce their risk of developing all types of cancer. Research shows that adults who move regularly have a 20 to 50 percent decreased risk of breast cancer.
Certain lifestyle habits may help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight, consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, not smoking or drinking alcohol, and staying physically active can decrease the risk of breast cancer in most healthy females. Women should also conduct a monthly self-breast examination to check for lumps or changes and report them to their doctor. Be sure to discuss screenings and mammograms with your doctor as well.
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