A new and more comprehensive study, published online in JAMA Oncology on Thursday, May 26, sheds some light and ushers new hope for women who are known to be at higher risk for breast cancer because of genetics and family history.
The findings of the study showed that a lifestyle change can play a significant role in cutting the breast cancer risk among women. About 30 percent of breast cancer cases among white female Americans can be avoided by keeping a healthy weight, saying no to smoking, minimizing alcohol intake, and avoiding the use of hormone therapy after reaching the menopausal stage.
"People think that their genetic risk for developing cancer is set in stone," said Nilanjan Chatterjee, PhD, the senior author of the study and a professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore via Science Daily. "While you can't change your genes, this study tells us even people who are at high genetic risk can change their health outlook by making better lifestyle choices such as eating right, exercising and quitting smoking."
The researchers took into account the records of about 43,000 women both with and without breast cancer. The team was able to come up with a model for predicting the chances of a woman getting breast cancer by making use of data like genetic information, lifestyle habits, family history of breast cancer and the age menstruation started. They also factored in the effects of 68 other gene variations that the women were not tested for.
Science World Report said the results suggested that, on the average, a 30-year-old white woman has an 11 percent chance of developing breast cancer by age 80.
"The bottom line is, this study provides evidence that, on a population level, a certain number of breast cancer cases would be prevented if women did these things," according to Professor William Dupont of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
According to the BreastCancer.org, a nonprofit organization, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, next to skin cancer.
In 2015, about 30 percent of the newly diagnosed cancers for women in the US will be breast cancers. What is worse, the chances of dying from the disease are highest as compared to any other forms of cancer except lung cancer.