Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. Everyone knows that screening is important, but when to start, and how often? Doctors and experts don’t always agree on this, and the answer is different for different women. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) put out their own respective guidelines, though they do differ.
According to the American Cancer Society, 2,000 to 3,000 people in the U.S. develop bile duct cancer per year and the incidence has been rising steadily during the last twenty years in the United States, Europe, Australia, Japan and Asia. It has been reported that this cancer affects mostly the older population -- the average age being 70. However, we have become increasingly aware of its effect on much younger individuals, including Daisy Llewelyn and, more recently, Japanese actress Naomi Kawashima. It is therefore critical that we learn about this cancer so we can be proactive.
The hormone estrogen plays an important role in a woman’s health throughout her life. It is necessary for the development and growth of breasts, ovaries and the uterus; regulates the menstrual cycle; and is essential for reproduction. Estrogen also plays an important role in having a healthy heart and bones. The downside to all these benefits, however, is that a woman’s risk for breast cancer is associated with how much exposure she has to estrogen over the course of her life.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women in the United States. It will affect one in eight women in their lifetime. About 5-10 percent of breast cancers are hereditary. But the good news is that tests can determine whether a woman has inherited the mutated genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which cause breast cancer.
Why does one woman get breast cancer and not another? Aside from genetics, there are often multiple factors that contribute to the development of breast cancer. And yes, there are things you can do now to be proactive to minimize your risk for developing this disease. Let’s take a look at what you can start doing today to protect your health.
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so this is a good time to think about your game plan for protecting yourself against prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is associated with frequent trips to the bathroom, erectile dysfunction, impotence, and, in more advanced cases, bladder incontinence and urinary flow obstruction. As a result, some men feel embarrassed to talk about it. But knowledge is power, so the sooner you arm yourself with the information you need, the better your odds are of keeping prostate cancer at bay.
You already know that heavy drinking is bad, and that alcoholism is a killer. Breast cancer, a leading cause of death among women, grows faster with heavy alcohol consumption. Excessive drinking causes weight gain, damages the kidneys over time, dulls cognitive function (causing accidental injury of all types), depletes essential vitamins, and causes cellular damage to the delicate linings of the gut. The more you drink, the higher the risks for serious health issues.
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