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Know your risk factors for breast cancer

8:01 PM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
(Photo courtesy of AP Graphics)
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Knowledge is key in the fight against breast cancer. Knowing your risk factors, as well as steps you can take to prevent cancer, can make a big difference.

Dr. Cynthia Anderson of Baptist Health shared with First Coast News important information about potential risk factors and preventative measures:

•    Age is greatest risk factor. Starting consistent, early self-exams to learn your breasts' structure and how to perform a thorough exam can help you more easily detect changes during your menstrual cycle and the changes your body undergoes as you age.

•    There are also lifestyle changes a woman can make to reduce and prevent breast cancer

o    Limit alcohol consumption. Smoking is also a risk factor, but drinking more than three alcoholic beverages a week greatly increases risk by reducing the body's ability to process estrogen.  Pre-cancerous cells are stimulated by high levels of estrogen. The liver breaks down estrogen and alcohol by the same process. With high levels of alcohol in the bloodstream, the body can only process either the alcohol or the estrogen, which can cause chronic estrogen exposure.

o    Maintain body weight within 10 lbs of recommended weight for your height. Estrogen is a "fat" hormone, meaning with excess weight a woman carries excess estrogen.  

o    Regular exercise reduces stress hormones, which in excess can increase risk.

o    Take one 81mg baby aspirin a day.   

First Coast News

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