As we all know this month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month here in the U.S., but world wide there is a awareness for Breast Cancer this month as well. Breast Cancer in the most researched and widely publicized topic of all cancers. It is great because we are making some wonderful strides in the detection, prevention, and treatment of Breast Cancer. This has helped to save more lives, keep more women from experiecing devastating and life changing side effects, as well as keeping more mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends on this earth.
In Australia there was a new online calculator that was developed to help educate and caluculate the risk that a women may have for developing breast cancer. It is really nice since it is online and is relatively accessible to most people in the world. It is also very robust since it goes through all of the major contributing risk factors for women, and also gives women the option to click and learn more about each of the risk factors.
Dr. Helen Zorbas of the National Breast Cancer Centre said in a report released earlier today that, “One in three women think that a knock or bump to the breast increases their risk significantly yet they don’t believe that alcohol poses any risk for breast cancer.”
This goes to show how confusing all of this information can be for all of us at times. I mean each day there are several reports published saying this thing or that thing has been linked to Breast Cancer. There are also a lot of myths out there as well that have been linked to Breast Cancer. I have seen in my own patients that all of this information on risk factors, family history, genetics, and alcohol consumption can be very confusing.
I personally have always had a general rule of thumb that I have shared with my female patients in regards to some simple factors that they can control.
- Drinking one alcoholic beverage per day increases your risk by about 10%. Consume 2 drinks per day, and it raises by about 20%. This means on a daily basis. This also does not mean that you can save all of your drinks and binge on one night either. Unfortunately, it doesn;t work that way.
- Exercising for 45 minutes a day can decrease your risk for developing breast cancer by about 6%. Increase that to 2 days a week, and you decrease your risk by 12%. This accumulates as well, so there is a good argument for physical activity and excercse.
I took an indepth look at the online calculator and found it be very user friendly and helpful. There are also links along the way that allows one to read about more information on each of the risk factors that you are asked about. At the end, it also gives you a good explanation on what you might be able to do to change some of these risk factors, what to watch for, and more information on each factor.
As always, this can not take the place of yearly physical exams, screening mammograms, breast self exams, and being aware of changes that you are experiencing with your own body. This is just another tool to help you in the fight and prevention against Breast Cancer, and if you are at a higher risk, to then arm yourself with the correct tools to give yourself the best chance for survival of this disease.
Here is the link to the online calculator: Breast Cancer Risk Calculator
As always, if you or a loved one have any other questions, comments, or concerns; if you would like more information in regards to another cancer related topic, please contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or CANCERGEEK@CANCERGEEK.COM