Breast Cancer is on it’s Way Out

By Molly

SIA Play in Pink

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?

  • Anonymous

    Awesome post Molly. I too have an interest in breast cancer and this new research could lead to many great things and possibly more preventions. Personally, I believe that many women will storngly consider following those three habits in order to stay healthy and cancer free. However, Sixty percent of U.S. women have at least one drink a year. Among women who drink, 13 percent have more than seven drinks per week. According to the “Dietary Guidelines” women drinking more than one drink per day can increase the risk for motor vehicle crashes, other injuries, high blood pressure, stroke, violence, suicide, and certain types of cancer(as stated in your blog). As said by researchers in Molly’s blog, as little as one drink per day can slightly raise the risk of breast cancer in some women, especially those who are postmenopausal or have a family history of breast cancer. Also, keep in mind that most older women do consume alcohol at least once a week and aren’t aware of the cancerous affect it could cause. In my opinion I think drinking may be the most difficult of the 3 tasks for women in America to perform. For further information on women drinking in america look at these websites:

  • Anonymous

    Nice post, Molly! After read your post, I did some other researches about prevention of cancer disease, I find out that there’s not a good way for prevent it by medicines, most of the ways are similar, the doctors just tell you to take care of yourself and get away from smoking and alcohol. Actually it’s not just for cancer; we can use this prevention for almost every disease. I think stay healthy is the best way to prevent ourselves. In the health website, they will always tell you the same thing to stay healthy. For example, smoking is a big problem for prevent cancer. Using any type of tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix and kidney — and chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. So I would say that the best way to prevent cancer is not a certain type of medicine, it’s to protect ourselves from bad habitat.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! What a great post, Molly! It’s great that more and more research is beginning to come out about breast cancer. It is crucial for all people to be aware of breast cancer, as Molly mentioned in her post. After reading this, I did a bit more research on the direct effects that limited alcohol consumption and exercise have on breast cancer. More than 40 studies support the fact that there is a direct link between breast cancer and alcohol consumption. It has been proven that having two to four (or more) drinks per day severely increases the risk of getting breast cancer. Compared to non-drinkers, women who drank alcohol were 11 percent more likely to get breast cancer, according to 98% of studies. As Molly discussed, physical activity can also dramatically lower one’s chance of getting breast cancer. Most studies suggest that the most active women are the ones with a reduced risk of breast cancer. In addition to these two factors that Molly mentioned, other factors such as not smoking and weight control also play a role in reducing the risk of getting breast cancer. Check out The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s tips for a healthy lifestyle, which would lower the risk of breast cancer.

    Other Links:

    Are there any other factors that reduce the risk of getting breast cancer?

  • Anonymous

    Excellent post, Molly! Breast Cancer awareness month back in October was truly a great cause and I enjoyed playing in the “play in pink” soccer game. However, I never exactly knew the specifics of the disease. Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that occurs with in cells of the breast. I personally do believe that the three methods you mentioned, minimal alcohol consumption, constant physical activity or exercise, and the maintaining of a healthy diet, are essential. Yet, just that alone won’t guarantee that the breast cancer curse will slip over you. In fact, there are tons of risk factors that can increase your chances of getting breast cancer, some that are even uncontrollable. For example age. Women (and even men) are more vulnerable to breast cancer at an older age. Gender also is important because women are more likely to succumb to the disease then men are. Even race can increase or decrease your probability of having breast cancer; statistics show that being white increases your chances of being cancerous. If there are so many factors that lead to breast cancer that are not able to be controlled, why are the three methods that Molly mentioned in her post also important? Why is cancer more common in some gender, ages, and races than others?

  • Anonymous

    Great post Molly. I believe that most women who have a family history of breast cancer are very aware of the impact of the disease and will do everything they can to lessen their chances at getting it. However, women without a previous family history of breast cancer will not generally follow all the preventative habits. Most women in America ether do not have time for or just choose not to exercise enough. Regarding the healthy habit of less alcohol consumption, more women are abusing alcohol than ever before. Every day 3.9 million American women abuse alcohol or are alcohol-dependent. I was aware of this and that girls are beginning to drink at younger ages, but was shocked by two statistics. In the 1960s, 7% of 10- to 14-year-old females used alcohol; by the early 1990’s, that figure had risen to 31%. Secondly, 500,000 Americans who are dependent on alcohol are between the ages of 9 and 12. This is not encouraging news for the prevention of breast cancer.

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  • Stacey_danziger

    Great post Molly! 
    I too am very interested in Breast Cancer Research especially since
    scientists have been able to make a lot of progress in research. In a more
    recent study, by the Mayo Clinic staff, believe that reducing alcohol intake,
    controlling your weight and 150 minutes of exercise a week helps prevents
    Breast cancer. I also found out that breast-feeding helps keep away breast
    cancer. The most interesting thing, I thought, that the Mayo Clinic suggested
    is to not use hormone therapy (birth control).  Overall, healthy habitats is the most important way to
    prevent all types of cancer and other diseases.



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