Despite History, Women Can Cut Breast Risk

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Oct. 12 (UPI) — Women who have a close relative with breast cancer can reduce their breast cancer risk by adopting a breast-healthy lifestyle, U.S. researchers said.

Lead author Dr. Robert E. Gramling, an associate professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, said the researchers analyzed data on 85,000 post-menopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study that began in 1993. It included women ages 50-79, but excluded women with a personal history of breast cancer or with a close relative with early-onset — before age 45 — breast cancer.

Women with relatives diagnosed prior to age 45 might have a more dominant genetic pattern so they were excluded from the study, the researchers said.

The study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, found women who exercised regularly, maintained a healthy weight and drank moderately reduced their breast cancer risk even if they had a close relative diagnosed with breast cancer.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

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