Thoughts on Better Aging

3 Common Breast Cancer Myths Explained

August 25th, 2015

Take control of your breast health by learning the truth about 3 common myths.

Breast cancer is a serious health concern, especially as women get older. It’s no wonder there is an abundance of information out there about this disease. But it turns out some of this information is false or misleading. Get the facts behind 3 common breast cancer myths here, and make sure you talk to your doctor to get about your breast cancer risk.

Myth: Most Breast Cancer is Hereditary

Fact: According to the American Cancer Society, 70 to 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of this type of cancer. However, having a case of breast cancer in the family does increase your risk. If your mother, sister or daughter is diagnosed, statistically speaking this doubles your own risk. Even so, in most of these cases the hereditary BRCA gene mutation thought to cause breast cancer is not present in any of the family members.

Myth: You Can’t Control Your Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Fact: Some breast cancer risk factors, like age and family history, cannot be controlled. But other important factors are in your control:

  • Weight: Your weight can impact your breast cancer risk, especially after menopause. Why? Because fat tissue can produce estrogen. Before menopause, when your body is producing its own estrogen and progesterone in abundance, this is not such a big concern because there will be enough progesterone to help the extra estrogen get absorbed properly. But after perimenopause or menopause, you will not have this protective progesterone and estrogen from fat can become dangerous.
  • Activity: Studies have shown that being physically active can decrease breast cancer risk. Being highly active can result in a 25 percent decrease in risk, while at least one large study has found that even light exercise like walking 150 minutes each week can reduce risk by 18 percent.
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol has been linked to increased risk of many kinds of cancers, including breast cancer. Habitually drinking one glass of alcohol per day would increase your risk 10 percent compared to a woman who does not drink, and the risk increases with each additional drink per day.

Myth: Hormone Therapy Causes Breast Cancer

Fact: When done properly, hormone replacement can actually protect women against breast cancer by correcting hormonal imbalances that could otherwise present risks.

What do we mean by properly? We meant the treatment must:

  • Include progesterone: As discussed previously, women need progesterone to absorb estrogen. Without healthy levels of progesterone, estrogen can bind to the wrong receptors and increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • Use bioidentical hormones: Synthetic hormones (especially progestin, the synthetic form of progesterone) have been linked to cancer. Bioidentical hormones have not.
  • Not use oral delivery: Taking estrogen orally has been linked to cancer.
  • Provide personalized dosages of all vital hormones: Levels of hormones like testosterone, DHEA, and thyroid, in addition to estrogen and progesterone, should be tested. Personalized treatment should be provided to bring all of these hormones into a healthy balance. Testing should be redone at regular intervals or based on the woman’s menopause symptoms to ensure the treatment remains safe and effective.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of quality hormone replacement therapy for your health and for the treatment of menopause symptoms, please contact Renew Woman™ today.

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