It is now speculated that as many as one in three cases of breast cancer could be prevented by lifestyle changes alone. In other words, up to a third of women who suffer from it could avoid it thanks to such basic concepts as weight control, physical activity, improvements in diet or abstention from toxics such as tobacco or alcohol, among other factors.
In fact, the latest research on risk management and lifestyle recommendations was recently presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Menopause Society (NAMS) in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.
In the United States, and around the world in general, breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women. Many studies have been conducted, and all come to similar conclusions: lifestyle modifications are the key to preventing it.
Already in 2018, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research updated their recommendations for breast cancer prevention, classifying them by menopausal status when possible.
Some of those recommendations included advice on exercise, diet, alcohol consumption and breast-feeding, and were based on a number of proven facts:
- In postmenopausal women, there is up to twice the risk of breast cancer if they are obese at the same time.
- Body fat increases the risk of cancer from hyperinsulinemia, increased estradiol, and generalized inflammation.
- Physical activity alone can prevent 1 in 8 cases of breast cancer, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Alcohol produces up to 6.4% of current breast cancers.
- Any amount of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, and the more you drink, the greater the risk.
- There is an inverse relationship between vegetable consumption and breast cancer risk: the lower the intake, the greater the risk.
At the NAMS meeting, Dr. Juliana Kling, of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, stated that the current body of evidence supports lifestyle changes as the most cost-effective form of breast cancer risk prevention. Lifestyle education becomes the key to the new recommendations.
For her part, Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of NAMS, suggested that her presentation at the last meeting should provide valuable ideas to health care providers to help guide women to adopt a healthy lifestyle while informing them of the lower risk of breast cancer if they follow such a lifestyle.
Meat and Breast Cancer
Another recent study published in the International Journal of Cancer, which took into account data from 40,000 women, has succeeded in obtaining a relationship between different types of meat and cancer, specifically breast cancer.
To do so, they used data from the so-called Sister Study, which includes data on 42,012 women between the ages of 35 and 74 from the United States and Puerto Rico, which has been followed for an average of 7.6 years. In the end, 1,536 cases of breast cancer were detected. According to final data, women who ate more red meat had up to a 23% higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who ate less.
Researchers detected that eating poultry would have a protective effect: women who ate more poultry had up to a 15% lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who ate less.
Finally, substitution models were used, predicting the change between red meat consumption and poultry consumption. And the conclusion was even more beneficial: replacing red meat with poultry increased the protective effect. Although, unfortunately, the mechanism by which this type of meat provides protection against breast cancer is not clear.