Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

Karen Kaufman MD talks about reducing breast cancer risks

Breast cancer is the number one killer of women age 45 to 60 and the range of those affected is growing, however, there is a lot that women can do in their daily lives to greatly reduce their overall risk.

Does hormone replacement cause breast cancer?

I often get asked if hormone replacement causes breast cancer. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone do wonders for the human body as they keep blood sugar under control, help regulate mood and sleep, provide proper stimulation to the brain and other organs and keep the heart healthy to avoid heart disease. The natural hormone itself is not a problem. It is what WE do to them with our lifestyle and how our own liver processes them that can be a potential harm.

How about bio-identical hormones?

Bio-Identical hormones are hormones that are an exact match to our own natural hormones. Our body knows how to use and dispose of them appropriately. The same cannot be said for drug therapies such as birth control pills and other drug based traditional hormone replacement therapies. These drug-based replacements have been shown to increase cancer risk as well as blood clots and heart disease. So the effect is almost the complete opposite from that of bio-identical hormones. However, many patients and physicians think that bio-identical hormones are the same as drug based hormone therapy. Both in the way the drug hormones chemically look and the way they act in the human body are entirely different and have more risk than the bio-identical natural hormone therapy.

Hormone Balance

If you decide to pursue hormone therapy for quality of life or for some of the health benefits, it’s important to monitor that therapy responsibly which means testing for the balance of hormones over time as well as monitoring how each individual processes those hormones. All hormones in our body get processed through our liver and our gut and the way in which each person handles that process may be more or less risky for breast cancer. There is special testing offered through both saliva and urine that can make sure your body is handling the hormones appropriately. Contact our office today for more information about special testing offered.

Cancer Risk

The real problem is – what are we doing to those beneficial hormones with our lifestyle? Eating sugar and trans-fats will cause problems and oxidize the estrogen into something bad. Eating broccoli and cruciferous vegetables protects the estrogens and keeps them from turning into a problem. There are at least 20 decision points that every women faces in the course of her day that will either walk her toward breast cancer or away. Am I going to drink from plastic bottles? Do I over indulge in alcohol or caffeine? Am I getting enough vitamin D and iodine? Am I taking a birth control pill or other drugs that increase my risk for breast cancer and disease? Am I going to exercise or not?

Are there things that I can do for reducing breast cancer risk?

Quick Stats

Breast cancer is the number one killer of women age 45 to 60 and the range of those affected is growing. There is a lot that women can do in their daily lives to greatly reduce their overall risk.

5 things that increase your breast cancer risk:

1. Drinking more than one cup of coffee a day. Caffeine intake over 200 mg is risky.
2. Drinking alcohol daily or more than one glass per night.
3. Drinking from plastic bottles or eating from plastic containers.
4. Eating sugar, high glycemic foods, processed foods and “bad fats” like canola oil, vegetable oil, conventional butter, animal protein that isn’t organic, grass fed.
5. Taking birth control pills or traditional drug therapy as hormone replacement.

5 practical action steps for reducing breast cancer risk:

1. Eat 1 cup of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, brussel spouts, bok choy, cauliflower every day.
2. Get more iodine in your diet. Dried seaweed in your protein shake or simply an iodine tablet or drop.
3. Get your vitamin D level measured and keep it around 50 to 60.
4. Eat flax seeds (not flax oil)
5. Exercise regularly.

If you have any questions about your hormone balance, bio-identical hormones or cancer risks, contact Dr. Kaufman’s office today to schedule an appointment.

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