There is good news for many women out there who may be wondering whether they are at risk for breast cancer, with so many awareness campaigns being conducted in the media and online. New research suggests that simple online blood testing could reveal a woman’s risk, as much as 20 years in advance.
The study, conducted by Dr Xuehong Zhang of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that blood hormone tests may predict the risk for developing postmenopausal breast cancer up to 20 years before the cancer develops. The study does have its limitations, and needs to be replicated and expanded, said Dr. Zhang. If the research is confirmed by other studies, women could have their blood levels of so-called “sex hormones” such as estradiol, testosterone and the androgen DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) assessed every 10 to 20 years to get a biological assessment of their breast cancer risk, Zhang explained. The study further revealed that women with high levels of these hormones had up to a 107% greater chance of developing breast cancer.
“We’re thinking that the addition of hormone levels to our current risk prediction models might improve our ability to find high-risk women who would benefit from additional screening or prevention,” he said.
The research was presented at the annual Cancer Prevention Conference of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Anaheim, California.
Green Tea and Breast Cancer Prevention
According to another new study, Green tea helps prevent breast cancer. The researchers in this study said that Polyphenon E, an extract of green tea, can help stop tumor cells from growing, spreading and invading. In the study, sufferers of hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, which cannot be treated with hormone therapy, were given either 400 mg, 600 mg or 800 mg of Polyphenon E or a placebo twice daily for six months.
The researchers from Columbia University collected blood and urine samples from the 40 women at the beginning of the study, and again at two, four and six months.
Women assigned to the extract had an average 10-fold increase in green tea metabolites compared with the placebo, and a significant reduction in hepatocyte growth factor levels, which causes cancer to spread, at two months. Researchers said larger-scale studies would be needed to confirm a causal effect.
These studies go to show us that if we are concerned about our risk for breast cancer, there are things that we can do to be proactive about our health, rather than just waiting around to see if cancer develops. Since genetic factors can be an important concern in risk for developing breast cancer, you may already know that it’s a possibility for you. If so, simple measures like getting blood test screenings and drinking green tea now could literally mean the difference between life and death for you later. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!