Women that carry common gene variants linked to breast cancer can easily still cut their risk of the disease by following a healthy and balanced lifestyle, a large brand-new study suggests.
In fact, lifestyle may be especially powerful for women at relatively higher genetic risk of breast cancer, researchers found.
“Those genetic risks are not set in stone,” said senior researcher Nilanjan Chatterjee, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public good health in Baltimore.
The study found that four lifestyle factors were key: Maintaining a healthy and balanced weight; not smoking; limiting alcohol; and not using hormone therapy after menopause.
The researchers estimated that if all white U.S. women did those things, almost 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be avoided. And a majority of those averted cancers would certainly be just one of women at increased risk as a result of family history and the gene variants they carry.
The study did not include women along with the BRCA gene mutations that substantially enhance the risks of breast and ovarian cancers.
Instead, it focused on 92 gene variants that, individually, would certainly make only a small difference in a woman’s breast cancer risk.
But the variants are even more common compared to BRCA mutations, Chatterjee said. And their effects on breast cancer risk include up, he explained.
One question has actually been, exactly how much does lifestyle matter for those women?
The answer: “Lifestyle factors could be more crucial for women at better genetic risk compared to for those at reduced genetic risk,” he said.
The findings were published online could 26 in JAMA Oncology. The results were based on records from much more compared to 40,000 women tested for 24 gene variants previously linked to breast cancer risk.
Chatterjee’s group produced a “model” for predicting a woman’s risk of breast cancer, using that genetic article plus others factors. Those others factors included ones that can’t be changed — such as family history of breast cancer and the age menstruation started — along along with lifestyle habits.
The researchers then added yet another element to the mix: They estimated the effects of 68 others gene variations that the women weren’t tested for.
Overall, the study suggests, the standard 30-year-old white woman has actually an 11 percent opportunity of producing breast cancer by age 80.
Some women would certainly face better odds as a result of their genes and others factors they cannot change. Yet lifestyle selections would certainly actually make the biggest difference for them, Chatterjee said.
Even women along with the highest risks (the top 10 percent) could grab their breast cancer odds down to standard by maintaining a healthy and balanced weight, not smoking and drinking, and not using hormone therapy, the study suggests.
“The bottom line is, this study provides evidence that, on a population level, a certain number of breast cancer cases would certainly be prevented if women did these things,” said William Dupont, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.
He added a word of caution on hormone replacement, though. The evidence suggests that a short period on menopausal hormones has actually only a small effect on breast cancer risk.
“I don’t believe women must take this to mean that they have actually to go ‘cold turkey’ after menopause,” said Dupont, that co-authored an editorial published along with the study.
Dupont likewise stressed that the model the researchers produced has actually limitations. So it must not be used to “predict” any one woman’s risk of breast cancer.
Of course, others compared to the small number of patients tested for BRCA mutations, most women would certainly not know if they carry genes tied to a better breast cancer risk.
But in the future they might, Chatterjee said. As the cost of genetic analysis goes down, he said, it’s feasible women Will certainly be tested for common variants that affect their breast cancer risk.
Dupont agreed. That information, he said, could suggestions doctors provide women more-individualized help on breast cancer screening, for example.
But Dupont likewise pointed to the complexity of diseases adore breast cancer. Numerous genes “come together” to influence the risk — and, as the current study illustrates, they’re only section of the picture.
For now, he and Chatterjee stressed the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, and not smoking — for everyone.
Although much more research is called for to confirm the findings in non-white women, Chatterjee said the same general patterns would certainly most most likely apply to them, too.
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