October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As a double board-certified physician in Family and Obesity Medicine, I want to raise awareness for the facts about breast cancer and how certain people are at greater risk. Early detection and mammograms are critical to helping in fighting breast cancer – but so is staying healthy by managing weight gain and obesity.

Lifestyle Changes in managing weight are important for helping to prevent your risk of developing breast cancer.

Below are facts about breast cancer and who is at greater risk. 

  • In 2021, it’s estimated that 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
  • In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in Black women than in white women.
  • Overall, Black women are more likely to die of breast cancer.
  • For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower.
  • Ashkenazi Jewish women have a higher risk of breast cancer because of a higher rate of BRCA mutations.
  • Overweight and obese women have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause.
  • Being overweight also can increase the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) in women who have had the disease.
  • This higher risk is because fat cells make estrogen; extra fat cells mean more estrogen in the body, and estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers develop and grow.
  • Still, the link between extra weight and breast cancer is complicated and affected by other factors. For example, the location of the extra weight matters. Extra fat around your belly may increase risk more than the same amount of extra fat around your thighs or hips.
For more information specifically about breast cancer, you may visit www.breastcancer.org. You may also take action by helping women get access to the screening, education, and support she needs by supporting National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) at www.nationalbreastcancer.org.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month has done a world of good in saving lives by providing help and inspiring hope. Thank you for doing your part.
If you wish to learn more or need help in losing weight – don’t wait. You may schedule a discovery session at my website here to learn how to get started on your path to wellness. I am here to help prevent disease with information on lifestyle changes for the better.
Yours in health,
Dr. Janine Darby