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3 Key Lifestyle Factors Can Lower Breast Cancer Odds

3 Key Lifestyle Factors Can Lower Breast Cancer Odds

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

HealthDay news imageTUESDAY, May 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Things that keep you healthy overall, also appear to help lower a woman’s risk of breast cancer, a new review says.

The review found that exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol could all reduce breast cancer odds.

The report, from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, is based on a review of over 100 studies.

On balance, researchers found, regular exercise was tied to small reductions in the risk of breast cancer.

On the other hand, the risk was elevated among women who drank regularly — even at a “moderate” one-drink-a-day level.

Meanwhile, women who were overweight throughout adulthood faced a heightened risk of breast cancer after menopause.

The bottom line is that women can take steps to cut their odds of developing the disease, according to Dr. Anne McTiernan, one of the report authors.

“I think of lifestyle choices as being like wearing a seatbelt. It’s not a guarantee you’ll avoid injury in a car accident, but it significantly reduces your risk,” said McTiernan, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle.

In the United States, a woman has about a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer, on average, according to the American Cancer Society.

Some of the risk factors for the disease cannot be changed — such as older age and having a strong family history of breast cancer.

But lifestyle still makes a big difference, said Dr. Paula Klein, an oncologist with the Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City.

“We know that more than 50 percent of cancers are preventable with lifestyle choices,” said Klein, who wasn’t involved in the report.

So if a woman takes steps to curb her breast cancer risk, Klein said, she’ll also be lowering her odds of developing other cancers — including major diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“And you don’t have to run a marathon, or be skinny like a model,” Klein pointed out.

The research review found that women who were moderately active throughout the day tended to have a lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer — the most common kind.

Overall, women with the highest amounts of daily activity were 13 percent less likely to develop postmenopausal breast cancer, versus women with the lowest activity levels.

That included formal exercise, such as a 30-minute fast-paced walk. But it also included housework, gardening and other daily tasks that got women moving.

According to McTiernan, fitting in physical activity throughout the day is key. “That is, once you do your 30-minute walk, don’t spend the rest of the day on the couch,” she said.

When it came to breast cancer before menopause, only vigorous exercise was tied to a lower risk. The women who were most active had a 17 percent reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer versus those who were least active.

For postmenopausal women who were the most active when it came to vigorous exercise, the risk of breast cancer dropped by 10 percent compared to the least active, the study showed.

Women who were overweight or obese faced a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause. For every 5-point increase in body mass index (BMI), the risk of breast cancer rose by 12 percent, McTiernan said.

BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height. As an example, McTiernan said, a woman who is 5 feet, 4 inches and weighs 140 pounds has a BMI of 24 (which is normal-weight).

If she gained 30 pounds, McTiernan said, her BMI would reach 29 — a 5-point increase.

“While 30 pounds might seem like a lot to gain,” she noted, “many women do gain that amount over the years.”

As for alcohol, the review found that even moderate drinking was tied to increased breast cancer risks: Drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine each day boosted the odds of breast cancer by 5 percent to 9 percent.

Does that mean women need to give up that glass of wine with dinner?

Klein recommended looking at the big picture. “If you’re thin, you exercise and you don’t smoke, maybe that small additional risk from your glass of wine isn’t a big deal,” she said.

But the calculation might be different, Klein said, for a woman with risk factors, such as a strong family history of breast cancer.

The report included 119 studies that looked at the relationship between breast cancer risk and diet, exercise and body weight.

The review dug up only “limited” evidence that specific diet habits are related to breast cancer risk.

But a few studies have linked diets high in dairy, calcium and non-starchy vegetables to a lower risk, the report noted. Foods containing carotenoids — such as carrots, spinach and kale — have also been tied to a benefit.

SOURCES: Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., researcher, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle; Paula Klein, M.D., medical oncologist, Mount Sinai Health System, New York City; May 23, 2017, World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, Continuous Update Project


5 year mark!

Well, this May is my 5th year since having breast cancer in 2012! I was very happy when Dr. Dahlia Sataloff pronounced me cured and that it was not necessary to come see her on a regular basis. Of course, she said, I am always her patient if I do need her. So I drove home on cloud 9!!

Then I googled  “5 year mark – breast cancer” and got a gloomier story. There is no magic about 5 years.  it is statistically relevant but anyone can have recurring breast cancer at any time.


“According to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for non-metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast) is 80%. Newspapers and television usually translate that to, “If you’ve survived for five years, you’re cancer-free.”

This is a bit misleading. It’s true that during the first five years, the risk of recurrence is highest. But breast cancer can recur even after five years. The important point to know is that the more time passes, the lower the risk of recurrence becomes.

The chance of surviving breast cancer depends on MANY different factors taken together. Lymph node involvement has a strong influence on prognosis. The more lymph nodes involved, the more serious the cancer. Some of the other factors that affect outcome are your general health, the size of the cancer, hormone receptor status, growth rate, tumor grade, and HER2/neu status. Learn more about all of these factors in the Your Diagnosis section.

Even with the best information, no one can predict the future. Each of us is unique, and how each woman’s body and mind handle breast cancer and treatment is truly a mystery. Many women have beat the odds, while other women “sure to do well” somehow didn’t. You just have to do the best you can, with the best team of doctors and nurses that you can assemble, together with your support network.

The good news is that more and more women are living longer than five years past breast cancer as a result of early detection, more effective breast cancer treatments, and better overall medical care.”

I am hoping for no re-occurrence, but who knows?? Meanwhile get your annual mammograms, because early detection does save lives!!

Breast Density: What it is and what it means to you

There are several steps that women can take to reduce their breast cancer risk. From following a healthy diet, having an active lifestyle, to limiting alcohol and using safe beauty products, there are a number of opportunities for women to take charge of their breast health.

But one significant risk factor that women can’t control? Breast density.

Breast density, a term that some women who have had mammograms may be familiar with, refers to the percentage of different tissues that make up a woman’s breasts—fat tissue, glandular tissue and connective tissue. While some women’s breasts are comprised primarily of fat tissue, nearly 40 percent of women have breasts with mostly glandular and connective tissue, a characteristic commonly referred to as dense breasts that can make breast cancer more difficult to detect.

“Dense breast tissue appears white on a mammogram, and so do tumors and other abnormalities, which makes it easier for tumors to hide. Although mammograms can still be effective for women with dense breasts, detecting calcifications for example, this camouflaging does make it more difficult to detect some cancers,” explains John Stassi, MD, radiologist with The Barbara Brodsky Comprehensive Breast Center at Bryn Mawr Hospital, part of Main Line Health.

Not only do dense breasts make breast cancer more difficult to detect, they also make it a more likely occurrence. Studies have linked breast density with a higher risk for breast cancer.

Previously, women were not made aware of their breast density but thanks to new regulations in nearly half of the states across the country, including the 2013 Pennsylvania Breast Density Notification Act, physicians are now required to alert women when a mammography exam shows dense breasts.

“For women, this news can be concerning. However, by telling our patients whether or not they have dense breasts and then educating women about how to manage that risk, we will hopefully be able to reduce the number of undetected or hidden cancers in our patients with dense breasts,” says Dr. Stassi.

Even if they learn they have dense breasts, Dr. Stassi encourages women to continue to schedule their annual mammogram. Some of the earliest signs of cancer, such as calcifications, are still easily detected even in dense tissue. The use of 3D mammography throughout Main Line Health has already improved breast cancer detection in our patients with dense breast tissue.” says Dr. Stassi. Learn more about 3D mammography at Main Line Health.

If you learn that you have dense breasts, talk with your primary physician or gynecologist, or a breast center nurse navigator about your lifetime breast cancer risk. A risk assessment will take into account your family history and many other factors and if it indicates that you are at a higher lifetime risk for breast cancer, they can help you determine what supplemental screenings are best for you. If additional testing is necessary, your physician may recommend breast MRI, or breast ultrasound, all of which have been shown to increase cancer detection in dense breasts.

“The earlier we can begin education and awareness, the better. We are making efforts to educate women and their physicians not only about the significance of having dense breasts, but how to manage the associated risk,” says Dr. Stassi.

More Evidence Tamoxifen, Other Meds Help Limit Breast Cancer Spread

6-year study finds follow-up therapy cuts survivors’ risk for cancer in the other breast

By Robert Preidt

Thursday, October 6, 2016

HealthDay news imageTHURSDAY, Oct. 6, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Treatment with tamoxifen or another class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors does cut breast cancer patients’ risk of developing cancer in their other breast, a new study finds.

Some breast cancers rely on estrogen to help them grow, and drugs like tamoxifen or the aromatase inhibitors (which include anastrozole) have long been prescribed to certain breast cancer survivors.

Tamoxifen blocks estrogen receptors in the breast cells to hamper cancer growth. Anastrozole stops estrogen production in fat tissue, which makes small amounts of the hormone.

According to background information in the new study, about 5 percent of breast cancer patients develop cancer in their other breast (contralateral breast cancer) within 10 years after their initial breast cancer diagnosis. Prior clinical trials had concluded that tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors reduce this risk, but their impact on actual patient treatment was unclear.

The new study was led by Gretchen Gierach, of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and involved almost 7,500 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1990 and 2008.

Most of the patients were white and their average age at diagnosis was nearly 61. Tamoxifen was used by 52 percent of the patients for an average of just over three years.

Aromatase inhibitors were used by nearly 26 percent of the patients. About half of this group took aromatase inhibitors with tamoxifen for a median of 2.2 years, and about half took aromatase inhibitors alone for a median of almost three years.

During just over six years of follow-up, 248 of the patients in the study were diagnosed with a cancer appearing in the previously unaffected breast.

However, the risk of this happening declined the longer patients took tamoxifen, Gierach’s team found. Compared to those who did not take the drug, current users had a 66 percent lower risk after four years of taking tamoxifen. Risk reductions were smaller but still significant at least five years after stopping tamoxifen therapy, the study authors noted in a news release.

Use of aromatase inhibitors without tamoxifen was also associated with reduced risk of cancer in the previously unaffected breast, the findings showed.

Overall, for every 100 patients who’d survived at least five years, using tamoxifen for at least four years was estimated to prevent three cases of tumors spreading to the previously unaffected breast over a decade, the researchers said. That finding was specific to women with what are known as estrogen receptor-positive tumors, where the cancer is sensitive to the hormone.

Gierach’s team believes the findings support recommendations that breast cancer survivors “complete the full course” of whichever medication (tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitor) they’ve been prescribed.

Two oncologists each called the new findings “reassuring.”

One is Dr. Stephanie Bernik, who is chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She believes that tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors are potentially life-saving, so the new findings are welcome.

“Many women have side effects from the drugs and although these side effects are often minor, they need encouragement to continue using the drug,” Bernik explained. “With more evidence showing that in real-life settings tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors help prevent recurrences, more women will continue to take the drug for longer periods of time.”

Dr. Nina D’Abreo directs the Breast Health Program at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. She believes the NIH trial confirms the benefits of the drugs as evidenced in prior studies, and may help dissuade some women from deciding to have the unaffected breast removed for preventive purposes.

D’Abreo said the study “also affirms that the duration of therapy matters, but even shorter use has benefits for the ‘real-world patient’ who cannot comply with the recommended five to 10 years.”

The findings were published online Oct. 6 in the journal JAMA Oncology.

SOURCES: Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief, surgical oncology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Nina D’Abreo, M.D., medical director, Breast Health Program, and attending physician, department of oncology and hematology, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y.; JAMA Oncology, news release, Oct. 6, 2016

Main Line Health Breast Cancer Awareness Month Events


Join Main Line Health this October for a series of educational seminars devoted to breast health. These events are free, but registration is requested.
Think pink, live green: protecting your daughter’s breast health
Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood | October 6 | 7:00–9:00 pm
Make everyday choices to reduce breast cancer risk with Marisa C. Weiss, MD, director of breast health outreach and breast radiation oncology, Lankenau Medical Center; and founder and president,

Unconventional breast cancer care: the alternative approach
Paoli Hospital | October 11 | 6:00–7:00 pm
Learn about applying wellness therapies to complement traditional treatments with Sharon A. Marshall, MD, radiologist, Paoli Hospital and Kathleen Sacharian, MSN, CRNP, oncology nurse practitioner, Cancer Center of Paoli Hospital.

Understanding breast density and why it matters
Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr | October 12 | 6:00–7:00 pm
Learn about your breast density and what this mammogram finding means with W. Bradford Carter, MD, breast surgeon, Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Sidestep breast cancer: ways to beat the risks
Main Line Health Center in Newtown Square | October 17 | 7:00–8:00 pm
Learn about hereditary and lifestyle risk factors as well as actions to prevent disease with Amy L. Curran, MD, hematologist/oncologist, Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Heart health after breast cancer: making the connection
Paoli Hospital | October 18 | 6:00–7:00 pm
Understand and minimize your risk for heart disease after breast cancer treatment with Won S. Chang, MD, radiation oncologist, Paoli Hospital and Donald V. Ferrari, DO, cardiologist, Lankenau Heart Institute at Paoli Hospital.

Managing breast cancer-associated lymphedema
Main Line Health Center at Newtown Square | October 26 | 6:00–7:00 pm
Learn more about risk reduction, recognition and treatment for this lesser-known side effect of treatment with Tabitha Muracco, PT, MSPT, CLT, physical therapist, Main Line Health.

Mammogram misconceptions: clearing up the myths
Riddle Hospital | October 27 | 6:00–7:00 pm
Know when to get your mammogram—and why—with Tina R. Stein, MD, imaging and diagnostic radiologist, Riddle Hospital.

Call 1.866.CALL.MLH or register online and view more upcoming events.




Good Samaritans are lending a hand…
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Linda Creed Breast Cancer. Org is proud to showcase our supporters!

Starting tomorrow, October 1, Linda Creed Breast Cancer will be front and center with great supporters volunteering their time, talent, and financial help. Here’s what’s happening now!

Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival – Tomorrow at Boat House Row!

Big thanks to PECO Power Paddlers and Friends of Linda Creed. They’ve been training hard these last few weeks and they’re going for the goal. First heat is 8:45 AM. If you’re in the area and want to cheer them on stop by tents 88 & 89.

All month long…

Blo/Out Salons at 7th & Chestnut and 18th & Chestnut in Philadelphia will be giving every client the opportunity to donate a $1 to Linda Creed Breast Cancer with their wash and blow dry.

Soap Bucket Skincare & Candles in Oxford,PA, has designed a special candle with proceeds going to Linda Creed Breast Cancer. They are being joined by their fellow business associates. Come out and support these generous Oxford businesses during October.

And more coming…

Chubb Insurance hosting a Corn Hole Business Meeting.

Aquatic Fitness Center in Jenkintown (215-887-8787) is holding a spinning challenge on Saturday, October 16 led by the master spinner herself, Donna Belote. Go Spinners!!

Univ of the Sciences is hosting a fun evening, Pinkathon!, at the Athletic Recreation Center on Friday evening into early Saturday, 9 pm – 2 am. Tickets can be purchased on campus or through Linda Creed’s website.

LaFortuleza Rehab, 133 W. Hunting Park Ave, Philadelphia, (215-455-5370) supporters will be dancing to the music during their Zumbathon on Saturday, October 22! Come join in the fun!

Showtime Charities will be belting out the songs on Monday, October 24.

Standby…More to follow.

Copyright © | 2016 | Linda Creed Breast Cancer. Org |, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
| 614 South 8th St. – #277 | Philadelphia, PA 19147 | (215) 564-3700


Tamoxifen OK for Breast Cancer Patients without Uterine Abnormalities

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

Thursday, September 22, 2016

THURSDAY, Sept. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — For most women, taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen doesn’t increase their risk of uterine cancer, a new study suggests.

For women who don’t already have precancerous abnormalities in the uterine lining (endometrium), the risk is small, according to the Loyola Medicine study. The researchers said a pretreatment ultrasound may ease women’s concerns.

“Many women who would benefit from taking tamoxifen fail to do so because they fear getting endometrial cancer,” first author Dr. Ronald Potkul said in a Loyola news release. “Our study found that for women who did not have endometrial abnormalities when they began taking tamoxifen, there was a very low rate of developing pre-malignant conditions.”

Potkul is chairman of obstetrics and gynecology and director of gynecologic oncology for the Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, involved nearly 300 postmenopausal women. All had a type of early stage breast cancer known as estrogen receptor-positive cancer. That means cancer cells get signals from estrogen that spur them to grow.

The women, whose average age was 59, were randomly selected to take tamoxifen, either alone or along with the hormone progestin.

Tamoxifen is a highly effective drug used to treat breast cancer and to help prevent it in women at high risk for the disease, the researchers said.

The study authors theorized that taking progestin along with tamoxifen would reduce patients’ odds of developing abnormal changes in the uterine lining that could lead to cancer.

The women had ultrasounds of their uterus when the tamoxifen study began, after two years and again after five years.

Two years in, only 6 percent of the 89 women in the tamoxifen-only group had uterine abnormalities — much lower than the 30 percent that the study authors had projected.

Five abnormalities were found in the tamoxifen-only group, and one in the group taking tamoxifen with progestin, according to the study published in npj Breast Cancer. The authors said that difference is insignificant.

None of the abnormalities was cancerous, and only one more, also not cancerous, was found after five years.

The study authors said their findings could be affected by the fact that all participants had ultrasounds before taking tamoxifen. If they showed a set level of thickening in the uterine lining, a biopsy was done. Women with abnormal biopsies were not included in the study.

The authors said more study is needed before making broad treatment changes.

SOURCE: Loyola Medicine, news release, Sept. 16, 2016