One in eight to get breast cancer

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few days you may have come across this story regarding breast cancer. I dont like scaremongering. I am not saying for a moment that people dont need a wake up call but it is especially difficult to tell an 18 yr old to stop binge drinking when as we all know, when you are young you feel immortal. This feeling of youth immortality is not new, every generation has it, its only when you get older, have more life experience that you begin to think perhaps I dont actually want to die.

Most women these days are working mothers – the juggling, the multi-tasking, the guilt, the nursery fees, the commuting… it goes on and on. Unless you are unbelievably lucky to have help, support or a lot of money, most people are just spinning plates all week and trying not to break anything. This is stressful. Three quarters of a bottle of wine per night – easily done. Women can have it all of course, but it comes at a price and that price may be our health.

The list below is from Cancer UK. Far more is needed on nutrition and environmental toxins in my opinion. Also drinking one alcoholic drink per day increases your risk by 12%. This does not make an awful lot of sense. In European countries people drink a lot more than that, but dont have the rates of breast cancer that we do. Partly perhaps due to a fantastic diet and less stress. Too much alcohol is only part of the picture.

These are indicators only and how they interact is difficult to predict. Women can do all the rights things and still get breast cancer. Likewise, women can do all the wrong things and never get the disease.

Family history: A woman with a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer has around double the risk of getting it herself than a woman with no family history.

Obesity: Being overweight or obese is thought to increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer by up to 30%, because excess body fat raises levels of hormones such as oestrogen and insulin – common features of cancers.

Age: the older the woman, the higher her risk. Women aged 50-69 are most at risk, particularly those who have a late menopause.

Childbirth: The younger a woman has children, the lower her risk. Having children at all cuts the risk, as does breastfeeding.

Lifestyle: regular physical exercise and a healthy diet helps reduce the risk by cutting dangerous fatty body tissues. Smoking is not advised.

HRT: women using hormone replacement therapy have a 66% increased risk of breast cancer but the risk is temporary, returning to that of a never-user within five years of stopping.

Oral contraceptives: they increase risk by around a quarter but since users are generally younger women, their risk is relatively low.

Alcohol: drinking as little as one alcoholic drink per day increases breast cancer risk by around 12%

Source: Cancer Research UK

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