Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RNbreast cancer.
While we still can’t predict 100% who will get the disease, there are risk factors and even tests that may help to predict your risk.
Below, we’ll dive into these risk factors and explain how a little known test can be an extremely valuable tool for women who want to ward off the disease.
Know the Breast Cancer Risk FactorsBetween 5%–10% of cases for breast cancer are hereditary. Having a mother, sister, or daughter with the disease, may nearly double your risk.1
Being obese, smoking, drinking alcohol, using birth control pills, lack of exercise, early menstruation, and certain benign breast diseases, have all been associated with an increased risk for breast cancer.1
These risk factors are typically discussed by conventional doctors. One potential risk factor which is relatively unknown is the way estrogen is metabolized in the body.
Estrogen Metabolites May Indicate Your Risk of Breast CancerAll estrogens are not created equal. Certain types of estrogen can fuel the growth of breast cancer cells, while others have a protective role.
Through the action of enzymes, your liver converts estrogen into one of two paths. It can produce 2-hydroxyestrone or 16-hydroxyestrone. According to studies, the latter is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, while 2-hydroxyestrone has a protective role against the disease.2
The ratio of these metabolites is called the 2/16 alpha-hydroxyestrone ratio, and it can be measured with a urine test.
It differs between women, with some having a more favorable ratio than others. If you’re concerned about your risk of breast cancer, consider getting this test done.
Balance Your Ratio with Plant ExtractsThere are certain nutrients that can help to balance your 2/16 alpha-hydroxyestrone ratio. An extract called DIM (which stands for 3,3'-Diindolylmethane), found in cruciferous vegetables, was found to improve ratios by 47%.3
A similar compound called I3C (which stands for indole-3-carbinol) has been shown to improve ratios by 66%.4
I3C is a byproduct of cruciferous vegetables. Other nutrients which may increase 2-hydroxyestrone include coffee and flaxseeds.5-6
The Bottom LineHaving one or more risk factors for breast cancer doesn't necessarily mean you’ll develop the disease, but being aware of the risk factors may inspire you to take preventive steps. This could have a huge impact on your health.
Want to learn more about breast cancer? Give our breast cancer protocol a look. It's packed with useful information on breast cancer prevention and treatment.
- Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-risk-factors. Accessed July 15, 2014.
- Epidemiology. 2000 Nov;11(6):635-40.
- Nutr Cancer. 2004;50(2):161-7.
- Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Aug;14(8):1953-60.
- Mol Genet Metab.2006 Dec;89(4):381-9.
- Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Feb;16(2):256-62.
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