Tuesday, January 7, 2014

7 Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk Factors With the Free Online Calculator

With the amount of research being conducted into breast cancer and other cancers, much is being learned about how to prevent, treat and beat it. Usually it is too hard to determine the specific causes of individual breast cancer in individual women and men but large studies can find trends and identify risk factors. So having certain risks factors in your lifestyle increases your chances of developing cancer and successfully beating cancer.

So here are seven top risk factors for not only but other cancers and major diseases so you have a fighting chance to win any health battles:

1. Free yourself of smoking and your wallet will be heavier, your lungs lighter and your conscious easier knowing you are taking away the greatest cancer risk factor. Quitting smoking also makes a massive boost to your sex appeal because you smell, taste and look a thousand times better. The chemicals you inhale with smoke reduces the effectiveness of your immune system making it harder for your body to be healthy and strong.

2. Keep your weight to the healthy body mass index range for your height. Carrying extra weight makes the body work harder for less benefit and increases your breast cancer risk factors on a sliding scale.

3. Exercise between 1.5 - 4 hours weekly at a minimum to keep a healthy mind and body. Regular exercise really builds up your health resilience factors and gives your body a greater fighting chance to heal more quickly and fight the good fight with a healthy immune system.

4. Modify your drinking of alcohol to a maximum of two serves per day, less is better. This still fits in with the tradition of a single glass of red wine being good for the heart but lets you see the direct results of moderation while still getting to enjoy a good glass of wine or two.

5. Anti-oxidants fight the good fight and a diet high in antioxidants keeps your immune system strong and resilient. Most fresh fruit and vegetables are full of anti-oxidants but you can get dietary supplements with vitamins. Having a glass of vegetable and fruit juice each day can be a really quick and easy way to get a daily dose.

6. Stress uses up your body's reserves, depressing your immune system, using up anti oxidants, making you tired and susceptible to illness. By reducing your stress levels you reduce not only your breast cancer risk factors but many more as well.

So find ways to manage your stress levels such as exercise, improving emotional intelligence skills, meditation, or where possible changing the life style issues that are causing the stress.

7. Finding peace in our daily lives can be really hard sometimes but research is showing that just 10 minutes a day of quiet time can do wonders for our entire health. Mediation can be a great way of settling the internal to do list that rattle round inside to give space for calm and peace.

You can do a structured mediation, take time out to enjoy sitting still and watching the world go round, go to a yoga class; anything that gives you peace and slows things down for a time gives your internal systems, like your immune and nervous systems, a slower time to work in. This will also improve restorative sleep and let you function at a more efficient level when you need it.

Online Calculator to Test Your Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Now there is a free online resource tool to test your lifestyle choices and find out your personal breast cancer risk rate at the National Breast Cancer Centre's website at http://thepinkbliss.blogspot.com - an Australian health resource that is freely available to women and men all round the world.

One of the things I love about this free risk factor calculator is it lets you test the impact of changing lifestyle issues like weight, alcohol, exercise and so on so you can directly and quickly see the effect of your actions. What I really liked about the calculator was its ability to tell your body mass index (BMI) which looks at height and weight details. This free online health tool lets you test and learn what is best for you.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

The first step to getting a diagnosis is detection. Monitoring your own breast tissue contains 3 main components including a) Breast Self-examination b) Clinical Breast Exam and c) Mammography.

A woman may notice abnormalities while doing a self-exam. By examining your breasts every month, you will become familiar and be able to detect changes better.
The following are the steps to perform breast self-examination.

a) Breast Self-Examination

1) Put your hands on hip while standing in front of a mirror to visually examine your breasts. Then stand with your hands behind your head with fingers interwoven and look for changes in size, lumps, shape, contour, color, dimples or inverted nipples.

2) Press each nipple to see if there is a discharge.

3) Lie down putting a pillow under your left shoulder. Place your left hand under your head while lying down. Using your right hand, fingers flattened together into a pad form and press on the top portion of the left breast in a circular motion to examine the outer, then the inner circle of the breast including nipple. Use light pressure for area under skin's surface. Then add a little more pressure to feel halfway into the flesh. Finally, use deep pressure to feel down the ribs. Examine the breast and chest area under your armpit. With the same way, repeat on the right side using your left hand.

With the above self-examination method, you should be able to feel any unusual lump or thickening tissues or skin.

b) Clinical breast Exam

This is conducted during your annual gynecological examination. Your doctor will place pressure on your breasts in circular motion the pads of his or her fingers. You will have one hand tucked under your head while the other breast is being examined.

c) Mammography

Mammography is able to detect any cancerous growth before it can be felt by a manual

exam. It is an X-ray image of the breast. A screening mammogram is done when a clinical breast exam is normal. It consists of two views of each breast including:

a) An up and down view and

b) Side to side view.

A diagnostic mammogram is performed to evaluate any abnormality found during a breast exam. Mammograms may sometimes cause discomfort because the breasts must be compressed until the skin is taut. Mammograms can detect breast calcifications made of minute amounts of calcium that cannot be detected by self or clinical exams. Generally, a radiologist can make a prediction on the likelihood of a lesion is malignant based on a screening mammograms. For women who already have symptoms suggestion of breast cancer (e.g. a palpable lump), diagnostic mammographics is necessary as they include additional views to give a more accurate prediction as to the likelihood of cancer.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top 5 Supplements For Breast Cancer Prevention

More studies are coming out showing how supplements may assist in breast cancer prevention. In some cases, supplements can decrease your risk by a significant amount. While a cure for cancer has not been discovered, the next best step is to live healthy and help your body prevent cancer from forming.

If you think about it, you have probably been told to do regular breast exams or get a mammogram to prevent breast cancer. However, this does not prevent breast cancer, but rather detects it. However, studies suggest certain supplements can actually reduce your risk.

If you ever have questions regarding the use of these supplements, I always encourage you to have a discussion with your physician. Feel free to print off the studies I reference and ask your physician to comment on them. In no particular order, these are the Top 5 Supplements For Breast Cancer Prevention:

    Fish Oil/Omega-3. On July 8th, 2010, ABCNews reported on the findings of a study which looked at the effectiveness of fish oil for breast cancer prevention. The "Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle followed 35,016 post-menopausal women who had no history of breast cancer.". These women were followed for an average of 6 years. It was found those who used fish oil supplements had a 32% reduced risk of developing breast cancer. The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and was also referenced in WebMD.
    Olive Oil. The people of Greece have some of the world's lowest rates of heart disease and cancer. And now studies are showing a direct link to their use of olive oil with regards to these decreased risks. This article from National Geographic outlines a study from 2005 which showed oleic acid (the main fatty acid in olive oil) "can cripple a cancer gene responsible for 25 to 30 percent of all breast cancers.". Another article in WebMD reported on a study which showed olive oil reduced the risk of breast cancers having the HER2 molecules. Another major study was begun this year and will last approximately 5 years.
    Grape Seed Extract. Studies show grape seed extract actually promotes apoptosis, or self-destruction, of cancer cells. An Oxford study actually promotes this finding. Currently, studies are being undertaken to specifically look at the effects of prevention in humans. However, test tube studies have been promising.
    Vitamin D. Looking just at cancer risks, the results are quite stunning. The National Cancer Institute states, "an inverse relationship was found between sunlight exposure levels in a given geographic area and the rates of incidence and death for certain cancers in that area. Individuals living in southern latitudes were found to have lower rates of incidence and death for these cancers than those living at northern latitudes. Because sunlight/UV exposure is necessary for the production of vitamin D3, researchers hypothesized that variation in vitamin D levels accounted for the observed relationships.". Furthermore, Vitamin D has shown to create apopotosis in cancer cells. They also highlighted a study which followed 1300 post-menopausal women who took calcium supplements and 1100IU of Vitamin D every day. The women taking the supplements showed a 60% reduction in cancer rates. Dr. Christine Northrup also recommends Vitamin D supplementation as a aid in preventing cancers of all types, including breast cancer.
    Vitamin E. The general consensus here is that Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. And some cancers have been shown to be the result of free radical damage. Antioxidants help protect against these free radicals. When it comes to specific studies regarding Vitamin E, the jury is still out. However, the Nurses Health Study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine 1993;328: 1444-9, studied 83,234 women for 14 years. And they found women with a family history of breast cancer who took the highest quantity of Vitamin E showed a 43% reduction in breast cancer as opposed to women with no family breast cancer history (16% risk).

As you can tell from the studies, I am not suggesting you will never be diagnosed with breast cancer. However, it appears as though your risks can be decreased.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Recognizing And Battling Breast Cancer

Breast cancer occurs due to the irrepressible growth of cells in the breast that invades the nearby tissues and spreads throughout the body. These collections of irrepressible growth of tissue are called tumors or malignant tumors. However, not all tumors are cancerous.

Breast cancer has been diagnosed in large numbers in North America and Europe. In 2001, about 200,000 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United States alone. Every woman has a 1 in 8 risk of developing breast cancer, but the risk of dying from breast cancer is much lower, barely 1 in 28.

The risk of getting breast cancer is generally higher among older women, women with a family history or previous history of breast cancer, women who had radiation therapy in the chest region, women who started their periods before 12 years old, women who had menopause after 50 years old, women who never had children or had them age 30 or older, or women with genetic mutation. In recent times genetic mutations for breast cancer have become a hot topic of research.

The breast cancer tumor has the following symptoms: lump or thickening that appears on the breast or underarm, changes in the breast's shape, nipple turned inwards followed by colorless discharge, red or scaled skin or nipple, or ridges on the breast skin.

If a woman experiences any of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean she has breast cancer. In such a case she should undergo a breast cancer personal check-up. It is estimated that 95% of breast cancer is detected through personal check-up. The breast cancer personal check-up includes checking for lumps in the breasts after each menstrual period, puckering the skin, and checking for nipple retraction or discharge. For consistent result, every woman should do a breast cancer personal check-up at the same time every month. Various other techniques such as mammography, thermography, ultrasonography, computerized tomography scan etc, can also help detect breast cancer.

Breast cancer treatments include surgery that removes cancerous tissues, with breast conservation therapy (BCT) being one such surgery. Other breast cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy and biologic therapy. Radiotherapy is a common breast cancer treatment, and radiation treatment and chemotherapy may follow surgery to ensure the destruction of the stray cancer cells.

Even after undergoing many or all of these breast cancer treatment measures, unfortunately almost half the women suffer from a recurrence of the disease.