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Friday, 24 May 2013

Conflicting advice

On our way to a party last night, I was phoning a friend who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  This is the second friend this week.  Is it just that we are better at early diagnosis or is it that something is bringing on breast cancer earlier in our generation?  

Let's investigate shall we?

The risk factors for breast cancer are:

  1. Not having enough children.  Ideally we should have 6.5 children and breastfeed them all for 24 months.  (Worrying about the .5 of a child, personally but hey, that's statistics for you!)
  2. Early menarche.  If we could have just delayed this by 5 years, that would have reduced our risk.  Apparently, we get our periods earlier because we are fed better as children.  
  3. Having our children too late, although no ideal age specified
  4. Not breastfeeding for long enough (2 years per child)
  5. Late menopause (45 ideal age apparently!  If you are over 45 and not menopausal, get on with it!)
  6. High insulin levels in post menopausal women not taking HRT.
  7. 66% increase risk in women taking HRT 
  8. Increase in risk of women taking oral contraceptives (You should be having more children instead!)
  9. Dense breasts (Are you calling my breasts stupid?)
  10. Previous breast cancer (Duh!)
  11. Previous breast disease (Keep your proliferations and hyperplasia under control, people!)
  12. Genetics  (Yeah, yeah, blame the parents)
  13. Weight.  Post menopausal, you need to be "lean" (BMI 21 - 25).  Pre menopausal, it helps reduce risk if you are obese. 
  14. Not exercising enough (150 minutes of "moderate" exercise per week)
  15. Alcohol (apparently, if you consume alcohol, you are more likely to have higher sex hormones in the bloodstream?)
  16. Diet - all fats seemed to contribute.  Soya seems to be good for you (or less risky than saturated fat?)
  17. Shift work
  18. Another "blame your mother's oestrogen" higher birth weight, longer labour, older mother oestrogen in the bloodstream - naughty naughty Mum.
  19. Height (SO much you can do about that - starve that child so it doesn't grow?)
  20. Chest X-rays between the age of 10-29
  21. Ionising radiation exposure (including mammograms!!)
  22. Smoking
  23. Hyperthroidism
  24. Anti-hypertensive medication

So, in order to have avoided breast cancer, I should have had 4 and a half more children, at an earlier (unspecified) age, been less well nourished as a child so my menarche was later, breastfed for a total of 13 years, had a earlier menopause, taken HRT, not taken HRT, not had breast cancer before, changed my parents, been obese, become lean (whatever that is), exercised more (or more moderately?), not drunk, never eaten any kind of fat, not worked at night,  not been so tall, not had pneumonia (necessitating a chest X-ray) or a mammogram, not smoked and my mother should have been younger, had smaller children, with a shorter labour.

If only I'd known this stuff before...........

1 comment:

  1. "Dense breasts (Are you calling my breasts stupid?)"

    Well, yanno, they ARE boobs, now, ah'nt they?