If you are a breast cancer survivor, caregiver or member of the general public concerned about breast cancer, please join us for a Breast Cancer Summit on Saturday, April 20, at Washtenaw Community College. The summit bridges the gap between our community and academic medicine by giving the audience a chance to ask questions and interact with U-M breast cancer specialists. Many are leaders nationally in the fight against breast cancer.
Maria Lyzen, right, and Ruth Freedman lead the Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Advisory and Advocacy Committee.
The summit was organized through encouragement from the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s breast cancer advocates. They feel the summit is a way to let the community know that the U-M breast cancer specialists are collaborative and multidisciplinary. Panel discussions and a mock tumor board will give the audience a first-hand look at how these leading oncologists work together on behalf of their patients. They will also give an update on the latest breast cancer research at Michigan and nationally, showing what has been learned and how vital research donations are to these research advances.
While it is not clear how nutrition and physical activity may relate to ovarian cancer risk, there is strong evidence that a few basic lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of breast and endometrial cancers. The strongest risk factor for both is being overweight or obese. Researchers think that as fat mass increases, estrogen levels do too, so lifestyle changes that focus on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are key to decreasing a person’s risk of endometrial and breast cancers. Even a 5% weight loss can decrease one’s risk of developing obesity-related diseases.
Lifestyle changes associated with weight loss or the prevention of weight gain in people with breast cancer include physical activity and diet. Studies in this population show that moderate to vigorous physical activity, as well as a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products is linked with a lower risk of breast cancer. Some research shows a decreased risk with lower fat intake but this is likely more due to the weight loss that accompanies this type of diet.
Alcohol intake is also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Even low levels of alcohol intake can increase risk.
Get regular physical activity. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
Reduce lifetime weight gain by limiting your calories and getting regular physical activity.
Avoid or limit your alcohol intake. Consume no more than one 12 ounce beer, 5 ounces wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor per day.
Increase your intake of vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy.
Endometrial (uterine) cancer
Even though the diet evidence is mixed, there is potential benefit in following a diet high in vegetables and fiber, while avoiding excessive intakes of red meat, saturated fat and alcohol.
Although a good number of the studies looking at the association between the risk of endometrial cancer and physical activity have been limited to women who are overweight or have not yet reached menopause, the evidence does point to lower risk of endometrial cancer with higher physical activity. Risk also increases for women who spend most of their day sitting, regardless of whether some exercise is fit in at the end of the day.