Breast Cancer: How You Can Prevent It
Breast cancer affects one out of every eight American women. Most cases of breast cancer are among women over the age of 50. According to the National Cancer Institute, the median age for women diagnosed with breast cancer is 61.
But there are things women in that age category can do to improve their odds. Careful screening is among the most important, experts say. Women over the age of 50 should also avoid the use of hormone replacement therapy. According to a 2002 study conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative, the risk of breast cancer rose among women using estrogen and progestin.
Diet and exercise are also important in warding off breast cancer. According to a recent study, losing at least 22 pounds after menopause, and keeping those pounds off, lowered a woman’s risk of developing the disease by 57 percent.
Dr. Helen Pass, director of breast care at Lawrence Hospital’s Center for Advanced Surgery, says walking is just as helpful as any other form of exercise so there’s no excuse for not staying active.
Mammograms, although controversial, are important as well. According to the website lohud.com, Dr. Nancy Mills, oncologist with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Sleepy Hollow, said that many postmenopausal patients feel as though they’re too old to get mammograms. As long as a woman is healthy and a candidate for cancer treatment, there’s no reason to stop getting mammograms, she added.
According to the website, Mills also said, “We shouldn't lose sight of the older women whose lives can be saved by mammograms.”