In recent decades, breast cancer researchers have identified several gene mutations that indicate a higher risk for breast cancer: Studies show that mutations in the BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2 genes may raise the risk of abnormal cell activities that result in unrestricted breast cell growth and division — that is, breast cancer. Currently, mutations in these three genes are estimated to be involved in about 10 percent of all breast cancer cases.
Today, many patients — especially those with a family history of breast cancer — are opting to find out if they have a mutation in the BRCA1, BRCA2, and/or PALB2 gene. Finding out that you have a mutation in one of these genes does not guarantee that you will end up getting breast cancer, but it does let you know that you have an elevated risk. Consider the following statistics:
- Women who have a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a lifetime risk of breast cancer that is estimated to be between 40 and 85 percent — as compared to only 12 percent for all women.
- Women with a mutation in the PALB2 gene have a lifetime risk of breast cancer that is estimated to be between 33 and 58 percent.
- Men with a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene may also have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. One study estimates a lifetime risk of about 7 percent.
These can be scary statistics, especially for younger patients, but there are lots of things you can do to support your health after finding out you have a higher-than-normal risk for breast cancer. Read on to learn more about monitoring and prevention strategies that can truly make a difference.
Regular Breast Cancer Screenings with Breast Thermography
Breast thermography is a great option for ongoing breast cancer screening, especially if you find out that you have breast cancer when you are still under 40 years old. Knowing that you have an elevated risk for breast cancer may make you eager to start getting regular screenings, but at the same time, you may also be worried about the inevitable radiation exposure associated with mammograms — which can further raise your risk of developing breast cancer. Breast thermography also enables you to continue your regular monitoring regiment when you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, without having to worry about the health of your baby.
Another advantage of breast thermography over mammography is its sensitivity to heat, which makes it possible to detect cancer at the earliest stages of tumor formation. For a mammogram to detect breast cancer, there has to be a fully-formed tumor in the breast. However, breast thermography can recognize cancer cells that have not yet formed a tumor, but have started creating a source of nutrients for a future tumor through the formation of blood vessels that lead to the area, a process called angiogenesis. The signature heat pattern associated with angiogenesis makes it possible for breast thermography to detect the presence of cancer cells up to eight years before a mammogram can detect a tumor.
When it comes to breast cancer monitoring, early detection is key. An estimated 90 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage have a survival rate of at least five years, as compared to only about 15 percent of those who are diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer. Given these statistics, regular monitoring is especially important for women who find out they have a high risk of developing breast cancer, and breast thermography is a highly sensitive, safe, and pain-free option.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk
Aside from regular monitoring with breast cancer screenings, you can also reduce your risk for breast cancer by making strategic lifestyle decisions. These include:
- Choosing a nutritious diet that keeps your weight in check, since being overweight or obese can further increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Foods that are high in antioxidants, as well as some antioxidant-containing supplements, may also be able to help lower your risk.
- Maintaining a physically active lifestyle that supports your weight maintenance and/or weight loss goals. Whether it’s jogging, yoga, swimming, or any other exercise, getting fit can help you stay healthy!
- Quitting smoking, which exposes your body to dangerous carcinogens.
- Limiting your intake of alcohol, which is also a source of toxins.
- Considering breast-feeding, which studies suggest may have a protective effect against breast cancer.
- Limiting your exposure to radiation — not only by choosing breast thermography over mammograms, but avoiding other unnecessary exposures to radiation whenever possible.
Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness offers a variety of tools that can help patients who are concerned about breast cancer. Contact us today to learn more about ongoing monitoring with breast thermography and to get nutritional advice that can help you minimize your risk!Share