Last October was National Breast Cancer Awareness month and Americans across the country greatly supported awareness of the disease. Many states and cities across the U.S. held numerous fund raisers and campaigns to help raise awareness and money for women with Breast Cancer. From personal experience, my own school ran several bake sales, soccer games and sold many “play in pink” items. The disease affects a large amount of women yearly, but new studies show that there are several ways Breast Cancer can be prevented, even for women who have the possibility of getting the disease simply through genetics.
Beginning his study in 1993, Robert E. Gramling, a professor of family medicine and community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, conducted a study to test if healthy lifestyle choices can prevent women from developing Breast Cancer. The study followed 85,644 U.S. women (post-menopausal) for 5 and a half years on a day-to-day basis. During the study, one group of women did not follow any healthy habits (healthy diet, minimum alcohol consumption, and moderate exercise), one group of women followed all three habits, and a separate group followed all three habits but had a family history that involved the disease or another type of cancer.
Gramling and his co-researchers Timothy Lash, Kenneth Rothman, Howard Cabral, Rebecca Silliman, Mary Roberts, Marcia Stefanick, Rosanne Harrigan, Monica Bertoia and Charles Eaton, collected data that proved his hypothesis true: women who follow healthy choices will prevent themselves from developing breast cancer, and by doing so even women with a family history will reduce their risk of developing the disease as well.
The study (also part of the Women’s Health Initiative Study) collected results where overall (excluding women with a family history) 1,997 women were diagnosed with Breast Cancer. However, the results collected from women with a family history of cancer that followed the three healthy habits, showed that only 6 out of every 1000 women were diagnosed with Breast Cancer. On the contrary, women with a late-onset family history of the disease that didn’t follow any of the healthy choices had a slightly higher risk of being diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
For women without a family history, women who follow the three healthy habits are less likely of developing breast cancer than those who do not make healthy lifestyle choices. Only 3.5 of 1,000 women were diagnosed every year who made healthy choices, while 4.6 of 1,000 women were diagnosed who did not follow any of the habits. Although Gramling and his co-researchers collected a numerous amount of data that supports their study on breast cancer prevention, the disease still can not be completed cured.
Robert Gramling advises women to moderate their alcohol intake, involve themselves in at least 20 minutes of cardio 5 times a week, and try to keep their BMI (body mass index) to around 18. 5 to 25. Other doctors and researchers have expressed their views on the study in a positive way, “The results of this study show that both women with a family history [late-onset] and without will benefit from maintaining a healthy weight and exercising, and consuming lower amounts of alcohol, limiting their alcohol consumption,” said Dr. Susan Gapstur of the America Cancer Society. Do you think the women of America and other countries will follow these three habits to prevent Breast Cancer? Why or why not?
This study can possibly be a breakthrough in Cancer Research and will spread Breast Cancer Awareness world wide. Gramling, Gapstur and the other researchers involved in the study have clearly proven that at least one type of cancer can be highly prevented. Do you think this study is a cancer breakthrough? Can it lead to new cancer research?