Health Concerns - Breast Cancer
Herbal remedies - Making menopause manageable.
Women Logo Home Pharmacy Library Medical Professionals   About Us Contact Us Site Map
Menopause Related Health Guides
Health Concerns
Bladder Infection - U.T.I.
Bone Thinning
Breast Cancer
Colon Cancer
Gas & Flatulence
GI Disorders
Gum & Peridontal Disease
Gynecological Cancers
Hair Loss & Facial Hair
Heart Desease
Hign Cholesterol
Sexual Dysfunction
Success Stories

Enter your e-mail here to sign up.

Menopause Survival Kit
Menopuase Survival kit including month's supply of black cohosh supplementSign up for the MenopauseRx Menopause and Perimenopause Survival Kit to receive free educational materials and coupons for products to relieve menopause symptoms including a full sized sample of a Remifemin® black cohosh supplement.
- Order Now

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. The incidence of breast cancer has been increasing steadily. If a women lives to age 85, her chance of developing breast cancer is currently 1 in 8 women. The American Cancer Society estimates that around 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed each year and 40,000 patients will die from the disease. While breast cancer can affect males, it is 100 times less common in men than women.

Breast cancer diagnosis increases with age, with 50% of breast cancer being diagnosed after 65 years of age. Breast cancer can behave differently depending on the actual type and aggressiveness. In general, breast cancer tends to be more aggressive when diagnosed at a younger age and less aggressive in older women.

What are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?
Although the exact cause of breast cancer has not been identified, numerous risk factors have been defined. For example:

  • Early age of menses (less than 12 years of age when periods began) or late age at the time of menopause (over 50 years of age).
  • Women who have not had children, or who did not have children until after 30 years of age
  • Women with a history of breast cancer in the family are also at greater risk. Certain genes may be responsible for a small subset of family inherited breast cancer cases. These genes, called BRCA1 and BRCA2, can identify those patients at increased risk. A thorough discussion with a genetic counselor will detect women who are candidates for this type of testing. Despite this genetic link to breast cancer, it is important to remember that over 85% of breast cancer cases are not linked to a family history.
  • Obesity and lack of exercise seem to be a risk factor. Diets high in saturated fats appear to be an independent risk factor.
  • Moderate alcohol intake has also been linked to increased risk for breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, a woman who drinks two to five alcoholic beverages a day has about 1.5 times the risk of developing breast cancer than women who drink no alcohol.
  • History of radiation to the chest and breast area. For instance, treatment for certain types of Hodgkin’s disease that incorporate therapeutic radiation may increase the risk of breast cancer development.
  • Hormone replacement therapy. Recent studies have suggested a link between the use of hormones after menopause and the development of breast cancer. Click here for information.  The link between birth control pills and breast cancer is less clear. Although some studies suggested a link, recent information has not proven this to be the case, especially with the lower dose pills utilized today.
  • Phytoestrogens —soybeans, flaxseed, certain grains, beans, fruits and vegetables—contain chemicals called phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen in the body. They are commonly used to treat menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. Soy has been advocated by the American Heart Association for its tendency to reduce cardiovascular disease. These estrogen-like qualities have created much controversy about the potential role of phytoestrogens in the prevention or promotion of breast cancer.

While some studies have found that phytoestrogens may protect against developing breast cancer, other studies have found no benefit. In fact, some studies have implicated phytoestrogens as a promoter of breast cancer cells. At this time it remains unclear how phytoestrogens affect the risk of breast cancer. If you are concerned about this possible connection you may be more comfortable addressing your menopause symptoms with the herbal supplement Black Cohosh.

Free Download: Fight Now!Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer

Tragically, over 40,000 women will die with breast cancer this year in America. Current anti-breast cancer medical efforts are aimed at critical early detection with mammograms.  However, new medical research confirms that women can eat and live proactively to prevent breast cancer before it strikes. Aaron Tabor, M.D. has written FIGHT NOW for women who want to reduce breast cancer risk, or risk of cancer recurrence, with proper eating and lifestyle choices.

“New medical research documents that many controllable choices can decrease risk of breast cancer. Women don’t have to wait around to simply become another random breast cancer victim. Whether you are currently a breast cancer patient, a survivor, or at high-risk for breast cancer, you can choose to fight now using the latest eating and lifestyle research. Prevention is the best cure,” said Dr. Tabor.

Developed during the past two years with new medical research reviewed from leading hospitals around the world, FIGHT NOW helps readers take immediate action to start lowering breast cancer risk with: 

  • The top ten foods that may reduce risk of breast cancer
  • A simple anti-breast cancer vitamin lab test to reduce risk by up to 70%
  • The foods to eliminate that may be increasing risk by up to 253%
  • A juicy fruit bursting with antioxidants that could lower risk by up to 94% (in animal studies)
  • An easy, clinically tested way to lose weight and belly fat, while reducing hunger, that could lower risk by up to 185%
  • A healthy oil that could lower risk by up to 94%
  • A simple lifestyle change that could lower risk of recurrence and risk of dying from breast cancer by up to 50%
  • Common breast cancer “myths” exposed including answers on cosmetics, breast implants, tight-fitting bras, and coffee in relation to breast cancer risk
  • Dr. Tabor’s “7-Day Prescription for Healthier Breasts”

(Risk reductions are reported as relative risks or odds ratios in either human clinical or non-human lab studies. Discuss this information with your doctor.)

The purpose of Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer is to provide information to women that will empower them to become proactive against breast cancer now with specific food and lifestyle choices. A woman’s only alternative is to be reactive after a breast cancer diagnosis, or breast cancer recurrence. The choice is clear.

If you would like to order a hard copy of this book click here. You may also download a free digital copy of Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer by clicking here.

How do you Assess Your Risk for Breast Cancer?
The GAIL Model projects the probability of developing breast cancer (both invasive and noninvasive) based on some of the known nongenetic risk factors as well as limited family history information. It is based on the major predictors of risk identified in the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project study, a mammography screening project involving over 280,000 women that was conducted between 1973 and 1980.

The Gail model does not consider second-degree relatives, paternal relatives, or age of onset of breast cancer in the affected relative, and thus may overestimate risk in women whose mothers or sisters had breast cancer at an elderly age, and underestimate risk for women who have second- and third-degree relatives with early breast cancer.

The Gail model has been validated as a predictor of breast cancer risk in women who adhere to regular mammography screening. The easiest way to use the Gail model is through an interactive computer program which asks the user to enter the necessary information and then immediately calculates the patient's cumulative breast cancer risk over the next 10, 20, and 30 years. The program, intended primarily for health-professional use, is available online as a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool at the National Cancer Institute's web site.

What are the Screening Recommendations for Breast Cancer?
Since 75% of all breast cancer patients seem to have no factors that place them at increased risk for breast cancer, doctors recommend that every woman should have an annual breast examination performed by a health professional every year after age 40, and she should perform a breast self-examination monthly. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women begin monthly breast self-examination at the age of 20. Women who perform breast self-examination are more likely to have small tumors and less likely to have cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes than women who do not perform exams. A woman who finds a lump in her breast should report it to her doctor immediately. Between 15% and 20% of breast cancers are detected by clinical breast examination. Fortunately, most breast lumps are not cancerous. Many women note an element of lumpiness in their breasts, especially before their menses. In additions, many benign breast growths can arise including fibrous tumors and cysts.

Mammography is an x-ray used to visualize the breast tissue. Mammography can be very helpful in detecting breast cancer. It is over 85% accurate, detecting the majority of cases an average of 2 years prior to any perceptible clinical signs or symptoms. However, as not all tests are completely accurate, 10%-15% of clinically evident tumors will be missed.

The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the American Medical Association recommend annual mammography beginning at age 40. The current National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommendations are that:

  1. Women in their 40s should be screened every one to two years with mammography.
  2. Women aged 50 and older should be screened every one to two years.
  3. Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and the frequency of screening.

A mammogram cannot distinguish a benign tumor from a malignant tumor. The only way to make a positive diagnosis on a suspicious lump in the breast is by having a biopsy, a minor surgical procedure in which the lump or part of the lump is removed and examined under a microscope for cancer cells.

If cancer is found in the breast, doctors will try to determine if cancerous cells have spread beyond the breast and surrounding tissues, which may lead to serious, often fatal, complications. The most common sites of spread in breast cancer patients are the lymph nodes located in the armpit. Doctors usually remove several underarm lymph nodes to determine if they are cancerous.

How is Breast Cancer Treated?
The treatment of breast cancer depends on many variables. A woman’s age, health and exact type of cancer will dictate the treatment recommended. The stage of breast cancer helps determine the best treatment options and provides doctors and patients an idea of how effective treatment will be. Breast cancer stages are based on a combination of tumor size (T), lymph node status (N), and the presence or absence of distant spread or metastasis (M). In general, the lower the stage, the better the chances for curative treatment and long-term survival.

Treatment may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or a combination of treatments. The treatment of breast cancer usually begins with the removal of the cancerous growth. The type of surgery has changed drastically over the past 20 years. Currently, a majority of breast cancer is treated with a partial mastectomy (also known as lumpectomy). This procedure involves removing the cancerous lump and some surrounding breast tissue, which leaves most of the breast intact. A simple mastectomy is sometimes performed, which removes only the affected breast. A radical mastectomy is rarely done, and involves removing the breast, lymph nodes, and chest wall muscles.

For women who have had a lumpectomy, doctors generally recommend radiation therapy. Studies have shown that lumpectomy combined with radiation therapy is as effective as mastectomy in treating early-stage breast cancer. Breast-conserving treatment is not an option for all women with breast cancer, including those who have already had radiation therapy to the affected breast or those with two or more areas of cancer in the same breast that are too far apart to be removed through one surgical incision. In some cases mastectomy is a woman’s only choice. Many women choose to have breast reconstruction surgery right after a mastectomy to restore the breast’s appearance.

If doctors find that cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes, they will often recommend chemotherapy. Even if no cancer cells are found in tissues other than the breast, chemotherapy may be given in addition to surgery to reduce the risk that breast cancer will recur.

Hormone therapy alters some of the chemicals the body naturally produces. For example, estrogen can act to ‘feed’ the breast cancer. Anti-estrogen hormonal therapy can slow the growth of breast cancer cells by preventing them from using estrogen. A drug called Tamoxifen is used quite frequently and has been shown very effective in preventing recurrent tumors and decreasing the risk of a new cancer from starting in the opposite breast.

A number of newer medications that are specific to the biologic action of the breast cancer cell have been developed and can be employed with traditional therapies to individualize treatment.

A list of questions that may be relevant for each patient should be prepared for her physician. The Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation recommends the following list be considered:

Questions for Patients to Ask About Their Treatment Options

  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the procedures you are recommending for me and why?
  • Am I a candidate for breast conserving therapy ?
  • Will a sentinel node biopsy be done?
  • Can breast reconstruction be done at the time of the surgery, as well as later?
  • Can you refer me to a reconstructive surgeon?
  • If I choose not to have reconstruction, what types of prostheses are available?
  • Will I need additional (adjuvant) treatment following my surgery?
  • How long do I have to make a treatment decision?
  • What procedure will my insurance cover?
  • Is there a clinical trial that is enrolling patients with my type of breast cancer? If so, how can I learn more?

What is the Survival Rate for Breast Cancer?
The 5 year survival rate of women diagnosed with localized breast cancer is 96%. The rate decreases by 18% if the cancer has spread to adjacent tissue. These survival rates are much better than a number of years ago, and will hopefully continue to improve with further research. Every woman with breast cancer deserves to receive the best care possible. Locating good doctors and a quality hospital not only helps ensure excellent care but it can also instill peace of mind in patients and their families and friends. There are many different ways to find a good health care provider including word of mouth from trusted sources, referrals from health care providers, or interviews with the providers themselves. Playing an active role in treatment decisions is important for patients to ensure the best care possible. Even though the exact treatment for breast cancer can vary from woman to woman, a number of organizations have developed treatment guidelines based on the latest research to help ensure the quality care of breast cancer patients. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), National Comprehensive Care Network (NCCN), Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), and University of California Cancer Care Consortium are examples of organizations that have developed breast cancer treatment guidelines, some of which are available on the Internet.
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Find information about breast cancer, resources for those afflicted, and details of fundraisers and other programs from this national non-profit dedicated to fighting it.
National Breast Cancer Foundation Nonprofit promotes breast cancer prevention and detection awareness and education.

The information provided by MenopauseRx, Inc. is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health-care provider. Please consult your health-care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.