Women in Nebraska are once again reminded of the dangers of breast cancer. Each year, more than 207,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and it is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths among women. Dr. Christine Laronga heads a cancer center in Florida and says while developments are being made in diagnosis and treatment, every woman should make healthy lifestyle choices as it does help in preventing this illness.
“Limiting our alcohol. Adding exercise to our work week and being careful about our diet in the sense of moderation and avoiding obesity because obesity is associated with increased breast cancer risks.”
Dr. Laronga is very pleased at the treatment improvements in recent years but feels one aspect has been ignored. She says many hospitals are like assembly lines and lose touch they are dealing with a person. She is taking steps to change that.
“Risks of our treatment or the downside of our treatment. Yes, we are making you survive your breast cancer but at what cost. Not just financial cost but emotional, quality of life. So now we are trying to tailor our treatments that would be personalized to her particular cancer instead of treating her like a thousand women and also to make it not so impactful in her daily life. So, we are looking at those kinds of things and we are making great strides on impacting her quality of life.”
With so many articles on-line and in magazines about “do this and not this to prevent breast cancer”; it is hard to know what to do. One big question has centered on use of hormone replacement medication.
“What we tell women is the largest and the best study out there on hormone replacement and breast cancer risk says you have to be on a combination pill, so it has both estrogen and progesterone and you have to be on it more than 10 years. So, I think that if she doesn’t have a strong family history and is going through menopause and has the “crazies”, that se actually needs this for a few years to be sane, and then it is well worth taking it. Then, she can come off of it after and not worry about the increased risk of breast cancer at that point.”
Dr. Laronga says improvements have also been made regarding risk assessment and use of genetic profiling to determine if a woman is prone to this illness.