Preventive Measures for Breast Cancer
By Dr. Brandon Colby MD, a physician-expert in the fields of genetic testing and personalized preventive medicine.
Are you concerned about developing breast cancer? If so, we understand how you feel. One of the reasons we’re in this field is because we want to help people prevent breast cancer. That’s why we decided to include breast cancer prevention in our Education Center. We hope that these preventive measures for breast cancer help you feel more confident in your risk of developing it.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Breast Cancer
Researchers have found that people’s lifestyle choices can be effective in risk reduction for breast cancer.
Limit alcohol consumption.
Alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer and many other medical conditions. This doesn’t mean you should abstain from it, as some alcohol, such as red wine can have health benefits. One glass a day should be the max amount.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Yo-yo dieting and obesity can increase the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Eat healthy foods and exercise to manage weight. If that isn’t enough, speak to your health care provider about what to do to either lose weight in a healthy way and maintain it.
Move your body regularly.
Regular exercise can help you lose weight and that lowers risk. Try to get 150 or more minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity. This is in addition to strength training twice a week.
Breastfeed your children.
Research shows breastfeeding can have an effect on breast cancer risk. Women can be at a lower risk of breast cancer if they decide on breastfeeding their children.
Limit the use of postmenopausal hormone therapy.
This is also referred to as hormone replacement therapy and it’s for women who are about to enter menopause and postmenopausal women. Combination hormone therapy containing high doses of estrogen has been shown to lead to breast cancer. It’s important to weigh the risks and benefits of this type of therapy and use nonhormonal therapies and medications as an alternative, if possible.
Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollutants.
High doses of radiation that come from medical-imaging methods can boost breast cancer risk. Again, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of these types of tests and only have them when absolutely necessary.
Use non-hormonal contraception.
Clinical trials have found that oral contraceptives (birth control) and IUDs may have an effect on breast cancer risks. A recent study showed that the incidence of breast cancer is one out of 7,690 women who used hormonal-based contraception for more than a year.
As with the other risk factors for breast cancer, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits. The benefits such as:
- Preventing unwanted pregnancy
- Menstrual bleeding
- Reducing the risk of endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer
The above benefits may outweigh the risks of developing breast cancer, but it also depends on if you have an increased risk of breast cancer due to being genetically predisposed.
When to Implement Preventive Measures for Breast Cancer
Feeling anxious about being diagnosed with breast cancer is a good enough reason to implement the above preventive measures for breast cancer, but it’s also a good idea to do it if you’re genetically predisposed to that type of cancer.
People who have a family history of breast cancer are at higher risk and should seriously consider genetic testing for breast cancer.
Many women who have mammograms are told they have dense breasts, which means that the mammography technology used for mammograms may not be able to pick up a cancerous tumor. There is 3D detection equipment available now, but it’s still a good idea to lower the risk as much as possible by employing preventive measures.
Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer
Genetic testing for breast cancer is a good way to identify whether a woman (or man) has inherited certain gene mutations that can increase the risk of suffering breast cancer. Mutations are found in two genes - BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. Those who have those genes are said to have Hereditary Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer syndrome.
Many women who find out they have BRCA1 - BRCA2 genes will decide to get a mastectomy to remove the breast before cancer develops. While this may not be the desire of many women, it is an option.
While many women who do not have the gene mutations described above suffer from breast cancer, having those gene mutations is a HUGE sign the person will suffer from cancer at some point in life.
At-Home Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer
It is not difficult to see if you have the gene mutations that can lead to cancer. With at-home genetic testing for breast cancer, you can find out in the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek and send the DNA sample to the lab. Within a few weeks, you will find out if you have the genes. This can be quite a relief to many you may feel as though their genetics are stacked up against them for suffering from cancer.
Breast Cancer Genetic Testing Cost
Besides believing genetic testing for breast cancer is too cumbersome when in reality it is as easy as taking a DNA test in the home, many people decide not to do it because of the cost. Breast cancer genetic testing cost is not expensive, especially if you use a direct-to-consumer DNA testing company - like Sequencing.com.
Sequencing.com has the lowest breast cancer genetic testing cost that's now available online for just $399. This includes fully sequencing the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes as well as all 30,000 genes and all chromosomes. It's the most modern and comprehensive genetic screening that exists.
The whole genome sequencing service tests your entire genome. From there, you not only find out if you have breast cancer genes, but you can also learn about your risk for many diseases, other health information related to your genetics, and even about your wellness and inherited traits.
Breast Cancer Genetic Testing: Pros and Cons
Before seeking breast cancer genetic testing, consider the pros and cons. From our article on Breast Cancer Genetic Testing: Pros and Cons, the downside of doing it are:
- Fear of the Known
- False-Positive Results
- Takes Time and Effort
The pros of genetic testing for breast cancer are:
- Peace of Mind
- Prevent Breast Cancer
- Protect Future Generations
- Assist with Health Insurance Selection
- Support Early Mammograms
- Enforce Breast Cancer Screening
Read the article for more information on the pros and cons of breast cancer genetic testing.
DNA Tests for Breast Cancer Genetic Testing
Now you know the preventive measures for breast cancer, and with those measures, genetic testing is important. DNA tests for breast cancer genetic testing are easy to get on Sequencing.com.
We recommend our special whole-genome sequencing service designed for breast cancer screening: Ultimate Genome Sequencing - Breast Cancer Screen. You can also use it to learn a lot more about yourself, such as if you’re at risk for heart disease, as discussed in our DNA App Store article.
Breast cancer is highly treatable and survival rates are high, as long as it’s caught early. This is why early detection is so important. Implement the above preventive measures for breast cancer so you can feel much better about your risk.
About The Author
Dr. Brandon Colby MD is a US physician specializing in the personalized prevention of disease through the use of genomic technologies. He's an expert in genetic testing, genetic analysis, and precision medicine. Dr. Colby is also the Founder of Sequencing.com and the author of Outsmart Your Genes.
Dr. Colby holds an MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, and a degree in Genetics with Honors from the University of Michigan. He is an Affiliate Specialist of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), an Associate of the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), and a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC).
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