Good Health Blog

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Tag Archives: Breast

Breast cancer prevention? really?

Gavin LeSueur - August 19, 2014

The focus of eDoc.net is on the recommended health screens and breast cancer screening has been around for a long time and is well proven to have an impact on breast cancer detection rates and survival rates. By way of a change in focus everyone should also be aware that there are lifestyle changes have been shown in studies to decrease breast cancer risk even in high-risk women. The following are steps you can take to lower your risk:

  • Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol — including beer, wine or liquor — limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.
  • Don’t smoke. Accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women. In addition, not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
  • Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
  • Breast-feed. Breast-feeding may play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
  • Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. You may be able to manage your symptoms with nonhormonal therapies, such as physical activity. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, use the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high doses of radiation, which have been linked with breast cancer risk. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary. While more studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and exposure to the chemicals found in some workplaces, gasoline fumes and vehicle exhaust.

Although it is a good idea for many other reasons, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables hasn’t been consistently shown to offer protection from breast cancer. In addition, a low-fat diet appears to offer only a slight reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

Screening is important but not the only way of reducing your risk. Consider making the changes today.

The Angelina Jolie factor

Gavin LeSueur - December 26, 2013

The US Preventative Services health guide (USPSTF) has recently released an update on the recommendations regarding the BRCA gene and genetic testing.

Angelina Jolie’s preventative surgery has bought the testing process into mainstream media and we all need to be aware of what the availability of genetic testing for cancer risk entails.

It is currently recommended that Doctors screen women who have family members with breast, ovarian, tubal, or peritoneal cancer and who may carry an increased risk for potentially harmful mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2). Women with positive family history screening results should receive genetic counseling and, if indicated after counseling, BRCA testing.

The USPSTF recommends against routine genetic counseling or BRCA testing for women whose family history is not associated with an increased risk for potentially harmful mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

The decision on an ‘at risk’ family history is made in consultation with your Doctor.

Being Breast aware

Gavin LeSueur - July 23, 2013

Breast awareness is about encouraging women to become more aware of their bodies generally and to get to know their own breasts. This is an important issue for all women in their mid-twenties and onwards, as learning how their breasts look and feel at different times will help women know what is normal for them and to recognise any irregular changes.

There is no such thing as a standard breast and what is normal for one woman may not be for another. One woman’s breasts will also look and feel different over time depending on the time of the month and the age of the woman.

What about routine self examination?

The Department of Health’s policy on breast awareness, which has strong support from the nursing and medical professions, encourages women to check their breasts for what is normal for them but does not recommend routine self examination to a set technique.

There is no scientific evidence to show that a formally taught, ritual self examination, performed at the same time each month, reduces the death rate from breast cancer or is more effective than a more relaxed breast awareness.

Are you being breast aware?

Know what is normal for you

  • Look and feel
  • Know what changes to look for
  • Report any changes without delay
  • Attend for breast screening if aged 50 or over

Building the database

Gavin LeSueur - July 5, 2009

this project started in 2008 with a concept to bring quality health advice direct to the public. After a year of reviewing preventative health recommendations and trying to design a format that is patient friendly and undertandable, eDoc.net is now ready to go onto the web. Many of the preventative health and screening protocols are designed in ‘doctor-speak’ and thus make little sense to patients. I am writing the explanations and getting my 16 year old daughter and local tradesman friends to read them before I post them. If they cannot understand what is needed then I re-work the explanation until it is useful.

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