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If I were a physician (and I am not, so I can only make assumptions here, along with some research) and my patient had a high risk of breast cancer, I would suggest methods of early detection. This field is changing all the time.
History within the family is of paramount importance. With this established, there are options available to prevent the risk of the disease. Diet and exercise are important factors, which I would share with my patient.
Exercise may decrease breast cancer risk. Also avoiding alcohol and obesity.
Other factors that can reduce one's risk involve taking hormones or living where incidents of pollution are high—"discontinue hormone therapy...[and] avoid exposure to environmental pollution." According to the Mayo Clinic, it has not been found that diets with high-fruit content or diets low in fat make a marked difference in the occurrence of breast cancer (there is debate regarding this information), but these diets may help reduce the development of other diseases, and reduce the risk of obesity.
The National Cancer Institute notes methods of reducing the risks of cancer, which include smoking and environmental pollutants, among others.
Some examples of risk factors for cancer are age, a family history of certain cancers, use of tobacco products, being exposed to radiation or certain chemicals, infection with certain viruses or bacteria, and certain genetic changes.
The National Cancer Institute also identifies protective factors with regard to breast cancer, several of which echo suggestions by the Mayo Clinic:
Some examples of protective factors for cancer are getting regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet.
An important step in fighting breast cancer is self-examination. Eighty-percent of lumps discovered come from self-exams. The sooner the cancer is caught, the better the chances of survival.
Being aware of the potential risks and contributing factors to breast cancer are important pieces of information I would share with a patient at risk for breast cancer, if I were a doctor.
If I were a doctor, but sadly, I am not, I would advise someone at high risk for breast cancer to get tested for the BRCA gene. The BRCA gene test is a simple blood test that analyzes DNA to look for mutated DNA in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Individuals that have this mutation face a much higher risk of developing breast cancer.
In addition, see your OB/GYN regularly and get routine mammograms.
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