“Last year 269, 730 women in the United States were diagnosed with Breast Cancer.”
Breast cancer is scary. No matter how you shake it, hearing those two words can make any woman’s stomach immediately tighten. Although not limited by gender, women run a far higher risk of contracting this type of cancer than men. For example, in 2007, the new cases reported for men were 1.3 per 100,000 and 123.4 per 100,000 for women.
The important thing to remember is that all women are at risk for breast cancer and getting older increases this risk.
The risk of getting breast cancer increases as you age. Most breast cancers and breast cancer deaths occur in women aged 50 and older. Until more is known about preventing breast cancer, early detection and effective treatment offer the best defense against breast cancer mortality.
No matter your age, you should become familiar with how your breasts look and feel. If you notice any changes, see your health care provider right away. Learn about the warnings signs of breast cancer.
Although rare, younger women can also get breast cancer. Just five percent of all breast cancers occur in women under age 40 .
While risk is generally much lower among younger women, certain genetic factors can put some women at a higher risk of breast cancer. Women who are diagnosed at younger ages may have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation. Women who carry one of these gene mutations have an increased risk of both breast and ovarian cancers. Learn more about these inherited gene mutations and cancer risk.
So what should you do to protect yourself? Well besides self-breast exams, regular visits to your doctor, and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle, eating these four foods can help reduce your overall risk.
Organic forms of selenium, a trace mineral in plants and grain-fed animal protein, may guard against breast cancer by normalizing the body’s circadian rhythms (the internal clock that regulates how many estrogen receptors — often linked to the disease — your cells produce). Get your beneficial daily dose, 55 micrograms, with the selenium-rich foods here and double down on their other health perks.
3 ounces light, canned in oil: 65 micrograms selenium
B6: helps the immune system
Niacin: lowers cholesterol
Source: Helmut Zarbl, PhD, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey
3. Portobello Mushrooms
1 cup, grilled and sliced: 27 micrograms selenium
Potassium: regulates heart function
4. Low-Fat 2% Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup: 11 micrograms selenium
Calcium: strengthens bones
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2010.