In America, the most common diagnosis is skin cancer; the second-most common diagnosis is breast cancer. Learn how you can possibly prevent breast cancer.
1. What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer.
Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and holds everything together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.
Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.
Kinds of breast cancer
The most common kinds of breast cancer are:
Invasive ductal carcinoma. The cancer cells begin in the ducts and then grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells begin in the lobules and then spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
There are several other less common kinds of breast cancer, such as Paget’s disease, medullary, mucinous, and inflammatory breast cancer.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a breast disease that may lead to invasive breast cancer. The cancer cells are only in the lining of the ducts, and have not spread to other tissues in the breast.
Who is mainly affected by breast cancer?
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women, second only to skin cancer. It’s most likely to affect women over the age of 50.
Though rare, men can also develop breast cancer. Approximately 2,600 men develop male breast cancer every year in the United States, making up less than 1% of all cases.
Transgender women are more likely to develop breast cancer compared to cisgender men. Additionally, transgender men are less likely to develop breast cancer compared to cisgender women.
What age does breast cancer occur?
Breast cancer is most often diagnosed in adults over the age of 50, but it can occur at any age.
What race is most affected by breast cancer?
Overall, women who are non-Hispanic white have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race or ethnicity. Women who are non-Hispanic Black are almost as likely as non-Hispanic white women to develop the disease. Statistically, women who are Asian, Hispanic or Native American are the least likely to develop breast cancer.
2. The #1 Best Food to Prevent Breast Cancer, New Study
When a woman faces cancer in the United States, the most common diagnosis is skin cancer; the second-most common diagnosis is breast cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic (though breast cancer can affect all people regardless of gender). While that’s enough of a reason to regularly have yourself checked for the disease, you may also want to adopt a diet that can help lower the risk of developing breast cancer. According to a new study, that diet should include eating foods that contain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In the study, which was recently published in The North American Menopause Society’s journal Menopause, researchers took a look at almost 1,600 people to identify a possible connection between n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (or Omega−3 fatty acids, Omega-3 oils, or ω−3 fatty acids) and breast cancer. Those behind the study found that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids—in general, as well as those specifically coming from marine sources—were linked to a reduced breast cancer risk.
“This study highlights the effect of lifestyle habits and, specifically, dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids on breast cancer risk. Lifestyle (or diet) is known to contribute to up to one-third of the risk for breast cancer,” said Dr. Chrisandra Shufelt, president of The North American Menopause Society. “Women can affect their risk of developing breast cancer by making dietary changes to include fruits and vegetables, fiber, and whole grains and avoiding high-fat animal and dairy products.”
Mollie Ferguson, RD, LDN, and CEO of Seva Functional Wellness, tells “Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids [which] are characterized by a double bond in their chemical structure.” Ferguson also notes that “N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are infamous for a wide range of benefits.”
As for the findings that suggest n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce the risk of breast cancer, Ferguson says, “Omega-3s are well known for their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Lowering inflammation in any capacity helps to lower the risk of certain cancers.”
If you would rather rely on your diet for n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, Ferguson suggests foods like flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and “low-mercury fatty SMASH fish,” which includes salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring.
When it comes to making sure you’re getting enough n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, Ferguson says, “it’s best to choose food sources first, before reaching for a supplement.” At the same time, “if a supplement is needed, make sure you choose one that is third-party tested and screened for mercury contamination.”