"There are many unavoidable risk factors for breast cancer including gender, age, family history, genetics and personal history of breast cancer," said Dr. Eleonora Teplinsky, director of Breast Medical Oncology at Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care. "However, there are also several modifiable breast cancer risk factors that women can focus on to both decrease their risk of breast cancer and live a healthier life.”
For instance, drinking alcohol is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Even a small amount of alcohol can increase the likelihood of development, but the correlation becomes increasingly significant when consuming three drinks or more per week. Smoking also presents another potential health problem, as studies have shown a correlation between tobacco usage and increased breast cancer risk.
Weight can play a role in the development of the disease as well; obesity is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women, while in premenopausal women, an increased BMI is actually associated with a lower risk of breast cancer.
Although evidence is inconclusive, a Mediterranean diet consisting of plant-based foods, fish and olive oil may decrease the risk of breast cancer. Despite recent debate, soy-based foods have also been highlighted as safe food options for many women. Dairy products are still under examination, although studies have shown no link between dairy products and breast cancer risk after menopause.
“Abstaining from alcohol and smoking and maintaining a healthy weight after menopause can help to decrease breast cancer risk," said Teplinsky. "In addition, certain dietary factors and maintaining normal Vitamin D levels may help to decrease your risk further.”
With these factors in mind, it's crucial for women to remain up to date on their mammograms to ensure cancer is caught at its earliest treatable stages. The Valley Hospital’s Breast Imaging Center offers all breast screening and diagnostic services in one convenient location. With flexible appointment times, including evening and Saturday hours, scheduling a yearly mammogram is easier than ever before.
To schedule an appointment at the Breast Imaging Center, please call 201-447-8600. To make an appointment with Dr. Eleonora Teplinsky, please call 201-634-5578.