Monday, October 26, 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness Lifestyle Habits and Risk


· 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer

· Breast cancer has the second highest death rates in women among other   cancers

· 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2015

· 85% of breast cancer occur in women with no family history

· Breast cancer screening saves lives. Mammography is the most effective screening tool used today. Talk to your doctor about scheduling your exam as well as regular self exams for early detection.

October is breast cancer awareness month, the second most common cancer in women. Raising awareness increases early detection and promotes healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce risk and save lives.

Part of prevention is understanding risk factors that increase the likelihood of breast cancer developing. Some factors we cannot change such as being female, age, and family history of breast
cancer. However, there are some factors researches have identified which are controllable and could impact breast cancer risk.

Body weight can affect breast cancer risk after menopause. Research shows being overweight or obese increases blood levels of estrogen and can increase risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 70%. Insulin levels are also higher in overweight women which could increase risk further. Losing weight after menopause and maintaining a healthy weight throughout adulthood can help lower risk of breast cancer.

Evidence is increasing that physical activity is important for cancer prevention. Studies show women who do not exercise have a 25% increased risk of breast cancer compared to women who do exercise. Women’s Health Initiative found brisk walking as little as 30 minutes  3-5 times per week reduced breast cancer risk by 10%. Additional exercise produces even greater reduction in risk and could have
beneficial effects on weight management and cardiovascular health.

Research has established a clear link between alcohol consumption and increased risk of breast cancer. Published in the International Journal of Cancer this month, a study following over 300,000 females for 11 years found women who consume 2-5 alcoholic drinks daily have a 1 1/2 times the risk of breast cancer compared to women who do not drink. The risk increases with the amount consumed. Women are advised to consume less than one drink per day, defined as 5 oz of wine, 12 oz of beer, or 1.5 oz of liquor.

Many studies have examined eating habits and breast cancer risk, and at this time much evidence is conflicting. Some studies have found increased breast cancer risk in women who ate more red meat and processed meat. A diet low in fat and high in fruits and
vegetables might have protective benefits.

The consumption of soy has been quite controversial in breast cancer research. Soy, which includes tofu, tempeh, edamame, soymilk, and miso contain phytoestrogens, compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. Some studies have found consuming soy can increase cancer cell growth. However, Asian countries where soy consumption is very high, have the lowest rates of breast cancer which could indicate protective benefits from eating soy.

Until the research becomes more clear the American Cancer Society and American Institute for Cancer Research recommends consuming soy in moderation and avoiding supplementation of soy. Moderation is defined as 1-2 servings of soy daily, about 1 cup of soy milk, 1/2 cup edamame, 1 oz soy nuts, or 1/3 cup tofu.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Are you a Night Owl?

Could the time at which you fall asleep have an impact on your weight, regardless of how many hours you sleep? We have an internal clock called the circadian rhythm which aligns with daylight and darkness. Our circadian rhythm regulates physiological and metabolic functions in the body, and could play a major role in weight management.

A new study from the University of California, Berkeley followed 3,342 youths and adults over a 15 year period to determine the correlation    between bedtime and weight. Their findings were later bedtimes, after 10:30pm, increased weight overtime. Going to bed each additional hour later was associated with a 2.1 point gain in body mass index, a measure of weight for height.

A study from the University of Pennsylvania found in just 5 days sleep-restricted subjects who slept 4 hours (4am-8am) gained more weight than control subjects who slept 10 hours (10pm-8am). The sleep restricted group ate on average 130 more calories throughout the day and opted for higher fat foods late at night. Among the sleep-restricted subjects, males gained more weight than females and African Americans gained more weight than Caucasians. Chronically sleep deprived adults with late bedtimes are at greater risk of weight gain and should consider improving sleep habits to reduce their risk.

Finally a study from Northwestern University found people who stayed up late and slept in gained more weight than people who went to bed  earlier and woke up earlier. Late sleepers consumed on average 248 more calories, half as many fruits and vegetables, twice as much fast food, and more soda. The study found the extra calories consumed could result in 2 lbs of weight gain per month if not balanced with more

Insufficient sleep and excessive daytime fatigue is a serious epidemic. When sleep and eating habits are not aligned with the body’s circadian rhythm it could lead to disturbances in appetite and insulin metabolism resulting in weight gain.  It is all about lifestyle; eating and sleeping at regular times could improve the effectiveness of weight loss programs and help those struggling with weight management.