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Decreasing Breast Cancer Risk


About one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over her lifetime. Those numbers are big. They're even bigger if you've been personally impacted with breast cancer in some way and so as Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close we wanted to talk about the risk factors and ways to decrease that risk. So essential. Doctor Teresa Baker and Dr. Margaret Burgess joining us today from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Ladies thanks for being here. This is such an important topic and very timely for sure and that number does seem pretty tough right.


It's a big number. It's sort of likened to prostate cancer now. If you live long enough and you're a woman your likelihood of being diagnosed with breast cancer is very high. One in eight. It's a big number. And most of the time it's picked up in a routine OBGYN exam or the woman herself feels a lump. And there are some things that we can't modify. I mean I can't modify your gender you can't modify your age but there are some things that we can do to decrease risk and we thought we'd talk about those today.


Well I think that's really hopeful right. There are things that we can do to impact it. So what's the first thing. Breast feeding is the first thing right.


That's right. Every month that a woman nurses her risk of breast cancer decreases. So we really encourage women for for the for the child but also for the mom hurt her chance of getting breast cancer goes and nothing else can modify it to that degree.


Really interesting. Let's talk about weight management then too.


That's an important risk factor that we can take care of. Yeah. So definitely eating a healthy diet maintaining a healthy weight. Those are things that a lot of women can do to prevent their risk of breast cancer in the future. What else can we kind of target as far as manageable things goes? Definitely alcohol intake. Smoking can increase your risk of breast cancer also. And so you know everything in modest modesty. So recommendation is to to limit alcohol drinking to one or less a day.


Ok. Now in the notes there's a really big long word. Tell me about chemoprophylaxis right. Is that the right- did I say correctly. Yes. OK. What does that mean? So chemoprophylaxis is essentially a drug that you can take that for high risk women. So anyone who with a lifetime risk of greater than 20 percent which is calculated based on you know family history of breast cancer there's certain drugs that they can take to theoretically decrease those woman's risk of getting breast cancer in the future.


So when do you need to get a screening like that. When do you know that it's time and that it's actually a legitimate thing that you need to look at.


So we recommend screening for breast cancer with mammograms starting at the age of 40. But in some women who have. A close relative like a sister or a mother who may have been diagnosed at a young age then the recommendation is to start 10 years prior to their relative was diagnosed.


Wow. OK. Well Suzanne it's definitely something it as we all do get older and as we're there you know breast cancer becomes more prevalent. That's definitely something to keep in mind for sure. What's that screening like. Is it Is it challenging. I mean what are what are we talking about here? The genetic screening. No it's just a blood draw just an easy blood draw.


I think Mary Grace and I were talking about this earlier and it's the psychology of this is interesting. What we really try to get women to do is to just look it in the eye because there's a lot of things we can do if they'll come and talk to us. And you know early early detection chemoprophylaxis but sometimes we tend to hide even when we know we're at risk of breast cancer or whatever and we just hope that we can get the message across that if you'll come in there are things we can do to help.


Absolutely. I mean that and really knowing is part you can't control it right. But you if you know that's part of you can kind of control the outcome a little bit. Right. You bet. Very good. OK. Where can we get more information from you girls do you think it will be on the InfantRisk Web site but also what's the site for the breast cancer


Breast Center of Excellence. OK we'll look it up for sure. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you. Important stuff for sure. Always a pleasure to talk to you. Dr. Baker delivered a baby today and she's here.