Up to 75% of breast cancers associated with modifiable factors like obesity, smoking, and inactivity

Up to 75% of breast cancers associated with modifiable factors like obesity, smoking, and inactivity

[Rhonda]: Yeah. I want to kind of shift gears one more time. I think a lot of people have in their minds,
at least in the context of breast cancer, many women think about risk factors being
genetic, you know, there are certain gene polymorphisms which are variations in the
sequence of DNA that alter the function somewhat that can put a woman at risk. Particularly genes that are involved in repairing
DNA damage, specifically in the breast tissue. [Ruth]: Right. [Rhonda]: BRCA1, BRCA2, I think many people
are familiar with these genes. But really what your research and what a lot
of research out there has shown is that there are lifestyle factors that play a if not equally
important role, and certainly in combination with these genetic risk factors would probably
be very, very important in modifying breast cancer risk. And not only risk but recurrence. So there are a few types of lifestyle factors
that we talked about today that may, you know, dramatically lower a female’s breast cancer
risk, and also people out…women out there that have had breast cancer, certain lifestyles
they should adopt in order to lower their recurrence. [Ruth]: Right. [Rhonda]: So what do you…if you want to
talk about maybe top one. [Ruth]: Yeah, you know, sure. You know, BRCA1 and BRCA2, if you have that
gene, you know, polymorphism, that’s a pretty special case. And those women are at very high risk of breast
cancer and recurrence. And it’s hard to know for that small percentage
of women, how much lifestyle matters. But again, they’re a special case, majority
of cancers are just sporadic. We think that less than 5% overall of breast
cancers are the result of genetic factors. And more like 65% to 75% are the result of
lifestyle factors, including obesity, diet, physical activity, and smoking. And alcohol we think maybe for breast cancer. So those are all things you can modify. So the idea that you’re doomed biogenetics
couldn’t be more wrong. For the majority…the vast majority of women,
it is your lifestyle choices that will make the biggest difference in your risk, which
is not the same thing as saying you’re to blame because a lot of cancers are sporadic,
but that there are things you can do to reduce your personal risk, a lot. [Rhonda]: Well, that’s good news. [Ruth]: Yeah. [Rhonda]: So don’t smoke, moderate drink,
you know, don’t drink a lot. Lose weight. [Ruth]: Lose weight if…and even a small
amount of weight. Recently there was a study that seemed to
show like they saw a huge improvements in metabolic health in the first 5% of weight
loss. And then they said, if you looked at 5% to
10% of weight loss, it’s like it flattened out. There wasn’t, you know, it isn’t like a linear
thing. So it looks like even modest weight loss can
really improve your metabolic health. So I think there’s this perception that, well,
if I don’t get to model skinny, there’s no point in even trying. And I think that’s a really wrong way of looking
at weight loss. Five percent weight loss could really make
a difference. [Rhonda]: Five percent of your… [Ruth]: Five percent and keep it, you know,
keep it off. You know, and maybe in a year or two you might
go, “Well, maybe I’ll lose another 5%,” you know? But, the idea that there’s like some very
linear thing going on, I’m not sure the data really support that. So even modest weight loss, you know, work
on the quality of your diet, work on the timing your diet, get some physical activity, please. You know, avoid long periods of sedentary
behavior, all those things combined, good sleep, you know, and good food choices I think
are…that’s the total combination of things is the best thing you can work toward. And just make it a lifestyle to always be
working on improving those things as your whole life. [Rhonda]: I think that’s fantastic advice. And I just want to mention that number again
because it really is, you know, the best obviously…no one wants cancer, you know? That…if you can do whatever you can within
your, you know, control to give yourself the best possible chance of not getting cancer… [Ruth]: Right. [Rhonda]: …then really, really, really,
really, really you should do it. That’s, you know… [Ruth]: And there’s a super benefit here,
is that it likely will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease which after all is
still the number one killer of women. So, you know, you’re really getting a 360
effect on your risk of all the major killers in America, some unpleasant conditions like
diabetes and also, hopefully, just feeling better every day. [Rhonda]: Absolutely. And that’s… [Ruth]: Quality of life. Basic quality of life. [Rhonda]: I think there’s been studies showing
like weight loss… [Ruth]: Right. [Rhonda]: …improve your mood. You know, inflammations associate with depression… [Ruth]: Yeah. [Rhonda]: …you know, and inflammation associated
with obesity. So yeah, you’re right. [Ruth]: Right. [Rhonda]: All these things, quality of life. [Ruth]: Physical activity is associated with
reduced risk of depression or ameliorating some of the effects. So there’s, you know, it’s not like there’s
a separate list of things you should do for one disease versus another, it’s like the
total benefit package. [Rhonda]: Right. Yeah, they’re all overlapping. [Ruth]: Much more overlapping. We used to not think that as much. We used to think they were completely…here’s
the disease pathway for cardiovascular disease, it’s very metabolic, it’s blood pressure,
it’s cholesterol. And here’s cancer, and it’s a genetic disease
and there are two separate pathways. Now, we see that they’re actually way more
overlapping than we ever knew and it’s really good news because it means you don’t have
to do separate things for each disease. It means the same suite of healthful behaviors
can give you 360 protection. [Rhonda]: Well said.

One thought on “Up to 75% of breast cancers associated with modifiable factors like obesity, smoking, and inactivity

  1. Watch the full episode:

    FoundMyFitness episode page:

    More clips from this guest:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *