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Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Breast Cancer and Menopause

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and though Menopause is not associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, its risk may increase with age. In addition, there are some drugs that are used to manage menopausal symptoms that may either increase or decrease the risk of breast cancer during menopause.

Let's discuss in detail the risk factors, HRT, prevention, and more.

Risk Factors of Cancer

Risk factors for any condition are mere indications of a condition that may or may not manifest itself with or without any signs. So we can’t really say that a woman who has risk factors will have breast cancer or that a woman with no risk factors will not have risk factors.

Age is first and foremost, the single most important risk factor for breast cancer. Breast cancer incidence increases with age. Around 95% of women that are diagnosed with breast cancer every year are over the age of 40, and about half are over the age of 61 years or older.

In cancer, genetics may also play a role. So if you have an immediate family member that has had breast cancer, it increases the risk of breast cancer for yourself as well. Also, women whose breast biopsy shows a certain type of benign disease like atypical hyperplasia are also at a higher risk for breast cancer.

Certain other factors are

  • History of cancer like ovarian, uterine, colon, etc.

  • Over and Obese Women

  • Women who have not yet borne a child

  • Women who have had their first child after the age of 30

  • Women that being their menopause late

  • Women with genetic abnormalities like BRCA1 or BRCA3 gene mutants

Some types of chemo can damage your ovaries and cause early menopause. You may have menopause right away or months after treatment of cancer.

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HRT and Breast Cancer

Several studies and evidence indicate that the longer women are exposed to female hormones (either made by the body, taken as a drug, or delivered by a patch), the more likely they are to develop breast cancer.

HRT or Hormone replacement therapy, may be given to women in post-menopause who have menopausal symptoms. The longer women are on HRT (usually a combination of estrogen and progestin) the higher their chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

A lot of women are getting inclined towards a more natural approach to managing their menopausal symptoms to avoid the side effects of HRT. Cimifugae Racemose is a naturally occurring plant hormone that has been effective in managing menopausal symptoms, Remifemin is a herbal supplement made of Cimicifugae Racemosa that provides relief from several menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and sleeplessness.

Preventive Measures During Cancer

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk. Here are a few tips that may help you prevent Breast Cancer.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight

  • Eat a Healthy, Well Balanced, Preservative Free, Alkaline Diet

  • Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

  • Meditate and Exercise every day even if it is for 30 minutes

  • Include healthy supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Folic Acid to bridge the gap between diet and nutritional requirements as well as maintain the depleting levels of nutrients in the body with age.

Detection and Diagnosis

Early detection of breast cancer, before it moves outside of the beast, significantly improves the chances of treatment and the success rate of becoming cancer-free is higher.

Early detection usually means early treatment, and early treatment has a very good survival rate in today's day and age.

Breast Cancer experts recommend the start of routine mammograms by the age of 45 and thereafter every 2 years or even just a year to make sure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to prevention of it. The frequency and timing of mammograms also depend on the risk factors.

Mammograms are useful in finding any abnormalities that are too small to be seen or felt. However, mammograms may not be able to detect all breast cancers, so it's recommended to keep doing physical breast exams every month.

It is recommended that women who are not in their menopause, between the ages of 20 - 30 years old perform a physical breast cancer examination every one to three years, thereafter every year once they turn 40.

There are several published research that show a clear benefit of performing regular breast self-exams. Women who perform breast self-exams should have their technique reviewed by a healthcare provider to make sure that they are doing it accurately.

Also, women with high-risk factors may benefit from getting a yearly MRI of their breasts along with their yearly mammogram.

This month of Breast Cancer Awareness let's pledge to be more aware and alert and take action that will help in the prevention of Breast Cancer.

This month of Breast Cancer Awareness let's pledge to be more aware and alert and take action that will help in the prevention of Breast Cancer.

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