Even women with a family history can control breast cancer risk

October 12, 2010

Having a family history of breast cancer can lead some women to wonder if the risk is out of their control. However, a study of more than 85,000 postmenopausal women, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research, observed that regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and drinking less alcohol lowers breast cancer risk for those with and without a family history of the disease.

The University of Rochester Medical Center study is good news for women who have a close relative with breast cancer and fear that no matter what they do, it won't matter, said lead author Robert E. Gramling, M.D., D.Sc., associate professor of Family Medicine, and Community and Preventive Medicine at URMC.

"It's important to note that a family history of breast cancer can arise in part due to shared unhealthy behaviors that have been passed down for generations," Gramling said. "Untangling the degree to which genes, environments, and behaviors contribute to the disease is difficult. But our study shows that engaging in a healthy lifestyle can help women, even when familial predisposition is involved."

Gramling analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study that began in 1993. The data included women ages 50 to 79 who were divided into two groups; those who had a family history of later-onset breast cancer (after age 45) and those who did not. The amount of risk reduced by adhering to the three health behaviors was the same for women with and without a family history.

"Given the strong awareness of breast cancer and distress about inheritable risk", Gramling said, "it is essential that scientists understand the actions women can take to reduce their risk".
-end-
Notes to Editors

1. Family history of later-onset breast cancer, breast healthy behavior and invasive breast cancer among postmenopausal women: a cohort study
Robert Gramling, Timothy L Lash, Kenneth J Rothman, Howard J Cabral, Rebecca Silliman, Mary Roberts, Marcia L Stefanick, Rosanne Harrigan, Monica L Bertoia and Charles B Eaton
Breast Cancer Research 2010, 12:R82 doi:10.1186/bcr2727

Article available at journal website: http://breast-cancer-research.com/content/12/5/R82

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

2. The WHI program is supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

3. Breast Cancer Research is an international, peer-reviewed online journal, publishing original research, reviews, commentaries and reports. Research articles of exceptional interest are published in all areas of biology and medicine relevant to breast cancer, including normal mammary gland biology, with special emphasis on the genetic, biochemical, and cellular basis of breast cancer.

4. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

BioMed Central

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.