Three Important Myths and Facts About Breast Cancer
Sandy Muran, PhD
With October Awareness Month in full swing, it’s always a great reminder to take the time and reevaluate ourselves as women and take the necessary steps to become proactive in our health.
Her are three myths and facts about Breast Cancer that bring hope and direction for better healthcare this October.
Myth #1: Early detection is your best prevention
Fact: Early detection reduces deaths from breast cancer but detection of existing disease is unrelated to preventing disease. This slogan was coined by Astra-Zeneca, a manufacturer of chemotherapeutic agents used in the treatment of breast cancer, in its 1974 creation of the October Breast Health Awareness Month.
Myth #2: Younger women don’t have to worry about breast cancer
Fact: Fewer than 7% of all breast cancer cases happen in women under age 40. The incidence for younger women is steadily increasing making it important to be aware of the risk factors that impact all women and those that put young women at a higher risk. In addition, breast cancer in younger women tends to be more aggressive and identified in later stages.
- Particular risk factors for younger women include:
- Disregard of early warning signs as a harmless lump or cyst, delaying identification of a problem
Breast tissue is denser in young women making it more difficult to detect cancer by self-exam and mammography. Dense tissue has nothing to do with size or lumpiness. Dense breast tissue has less fat and more connective tissue making it appear white on a mammogram obscuring questionable areas.
Myth #3: Breast cancer just happens; it’s genetic
Fact: Genetics represent only 10% of the risk while family and reproductive history accounts for another 20%. However, cancer scientists agree that 70% of risk is environmental (See Breast Cancer Risk Chart below).
Breast CA Risk
The body seeks out and destroys mutant cells on a daily basis. Two mutant cells that lead to breast cancer require risk factors that allow these cells to grow. It takes five to ten years for these two mutant cells to multiply to a size that can be detected on a mammogram.
Although breast cancer disease is discovered in a small percentage of younger women it is during these early years that her internal environment plays a significant role in the development of breast disease.
Tips to Manage Your Environment:
- Perform, monthly self-exams, knowing your own tissue prepares you to notice change
- Acquire a diet of fresh, natural, and plant-based foods while reducing red meat intake
- Reduce exposure to chemical toxins: stop smoking, use green household cleaning and personal care products
- Increase your body’s capacity to eliminate toxins through regular exercise and drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily
- Adopt a daily practice to develop stress resilience such as Pilates or walks in nature
- Be informed about non-invasive imaging tools such as ultra-sound and thermography; particularly if you have dense tissue
- Cultivate a pro-active attitude about your health. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)