The 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is sponsored every year by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Research presented often focuses on the prevention of breast cancer instead of honing in on the different types of treatment when someone is diagnosed. While both are very important, learning what you can do to prevent will hopefully allow you to avoid the ‘treat’ part by remaining cancer-free.
In prevention, there are some things you cannot control. For instance, you cannot control your genetics (you can thank your parents and beyond for that), where you grew up, or your exposures early in life. However there are several things you can control and researchers from Sweden want you to pay close attention to your weight and your blood sugar levels.
Weight is important because fat tissue holds on to toxins and makes its own hormones, specifically estrogen. Researchers found that if you become obese after 60 years old (think menopause) then your risk for breast cancer increased 55 percent!
They also found that diabetes (when your blood sugar, or glucose levels, became abnormally high) increased the risk 37 percent up to four years after a diagnosis. Unfortunately, there are many women walking around who are fully diabetic or borderline-diabetic and don’t know it because they haven’t had appropriate testing.
Many health care providers use a body mass index (BMI) chart in order to determine when someone is healthy, overweight, obese or extremely obese. According to the National Institute for Health BMI chart, a woman is considered obese at 5’2” and 164 pounds, or at 5’4” and 174 pounds, or at 5’6” and 186 pounds.
Remember, this is not overweight; this is their definition of obese. The BMI chart is not perfect however it is used as a guideline as it takes into account height and weight. Either way, you know it yourself when you look in the mirror or pull on your jeans if the fat cells have been creeping up.
Diabetes is often diagnosed by a blood draw when looking at a fasting glucose level. Pre-diabetes is defined as a fasting glucose between 100 – 125 mg/dL.