Save Second Base!

This is the funniest T-shirt I’ve seen this month for Breast Cancer Awareness!¬† I’m kind of glad my ten-year-old son is oblivious though, not sure I’m ready to explain this one ūüôā

Many of you know I was¬†in Pittsburgh yesterday for a primary-care breast cancer conference¬†at¬†UPMC.¬† It was a great conference!¬† The most important things I learned were NOT what to do about a large-core breast biopsy showing atypical ductal hyperplasia (in case you’re interested, the right answer is refer for¬†excisional biopsy).¬† I learned there are simple lifestyle measures every woman can implement to reduce her personal risk of breast cancer.

First of all, exercise!¬† 30¬†minutes of brisk walking 4 times a week reduced breast cancer risk by 30-50%.¬† Walking, just walking.¬† Get out your sneakers and get moving!¬† As you’ll see in #2, weight management is important but even without looking at the correlation with weight, exercise still reduced the breast cancer risk.

Second, get to a healthy weight and STAY there, especially after menopause!  Fat cells have an enzyme called aromatase that change male hormones made by the adrenal glands into estrogens.  After menopause, estrogens raise the risk of breast cancer substantially.  Women who carry their body fat in their abdomens (apples)  have a much higher risk of breast cancer than those who have more around their hips and thighs (pears).  Obesity in women also raises the risk of uterine and colorectal cancer, BTW.

Third, don’t drink alcohol.¬† Even half a glass of wine daily raises the risk of breast cancer.¬† There doesn’t seem to be a level of alcohol intake that is “baseline” or safe, so it’s really safest to not drink at all.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.¬† It is the second greatest cancer killer of women (after lung cancer).¬† Many women believe that their risk of breast cancer is something they can’t control, that it’s based in the genes alone.¬† That’s not true!¬†¬†Adopting these three simple measures (which are good for you anyway, not just in their ability to reduce your breast cancer risk) can help women avoid this awful disease.

Notice I said “simple,” not “easy.”¬† No one will ever tell you that maintaining a normal weight is easy.¬† But it is certainly not as tough as changing your age, gender, race or family history!¬†¬† These things ARE under your control.¬† You CAN choose to get moving, eat right, lose weight, and avoid drinking alcohol.

Which will you choose?

PS – if you want some help with weight loss, please let me know.