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Healthy Lifestyle Could Mitigate Genetic Breast Cancer Risk

  • Mary Nichols , Design & Trend Contributor
  • May, 30, 2016, 01:05 AM
Tags : science, health
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Breast Cancer Risk
(Photo : Getty Images/Mark Kolbe) A new study suggests that healthy lifestyle choices may have an impact on breast cancer risk in at women with a high probability of developing the disease.

A new study suggests that healthy lifestyle choices may have an impact on breast cancer risk in at women with a high probability of developing the disease.

A new study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that women with a high risk of developing breast cancer based on family history and genetic risk factors may be able to lower their chances of developing the disease over their lifetime by following a healthy lifestyle, writes Examiner.com.

The researchers estimate that up to 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be avoided by addressing known risk factors such as obesity, alcohol consumption and hormone replacement therapy.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in women in western countries. In 2016, 246,000 new cases of breast cancer are estimated to be diagnosed in women from the United States, according to figures from Breastcancer.org. An estimated 40,000 women die from breast cancer in the United States each year.

"People think that their genetic risk for developing cancer is set in stone," said the study's senior author Nilanjan Chatterjee, Ph.D., a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Bloomberg School, in a statement. "While you can't change your genes, this study tells us even people who are at high genetic risk can change their health outlook by making better lifestyle choices such as eating right, exercising and quitting smoking."

Those at high risk of developing the disease could take steps to reduce their risk by following a healthier lifestyle and watching what they eat, as well as engaging in regular exercise and avoiding cigarettes and alcohol. 

The researchers studied gene variations completely separate to the well-known rare mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Research on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes has found that possessing a single variant of these genes is linked to an unusually high risk of developing breast cancer.

Chatterjee hopes that the study will help women realize that even a high genetic risk does not guarantee that the individual will develop cancer, it also includes other factors such as lifestyle.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Oncology.

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