Lifestyle Changes That May Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Courtesy of the Army of Women

What can I do to prevent breast cancer? What is the best way to find my cancer early, before it has spread? These are two of the most common questions women have. Here’s what we know:

There is nothing that you can do to ensure that you absolutely do not get breast cancer. However, studies suggest that some lifestyle choices may help reduce breast cancer risk.

These include:

  1.  Eating a healthy diet that is low in animal fat and high in whole grains and fruits and vegetables. There is no data indicating that a specific diet, per se, can help reduce breast cancer risk.
  2. Taking a multivitamin and make sure it includes adequate folic acid.
  3. Having your children before 35, if you have a choice.
  4. Breastfeeding your children.
  5. Avoiding unnecessary X-rays.
  6. Drinking alcohol in moderation and make sure you take folic acid when you do drink.
  7. Losing weight (if you are overweight).
  8. Not gaining weight after menopause.
  9. Getting regular exercise.

Using hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms for the shortest time period necessary, it at all.

You should also be sure to:

  • Evaluate any breast symptoms or changes that develop.
  • Have mammograms when appropriate.
  • Consider raloxifene if you are postmenopausal and need to take a drug to prevent bone loss.
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer or for other reasons are at high risk of getting breast cancer, visit our section for High-Risk Women.

To help us learn more about breast cancer prevention, you can:

This post is courtesy of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, dedicated to eradicating breast cancer and improving the quality of women’s health through innovative research, education and advocacy.  To support this important cause and donate, visit www.dslrf.org.

Army of Women Needs Breast Cancer Survivors for a New Study!

Breast Cancer Survivors: Uterine Cancer Risk and YOU!

We are dedicating our space to helping spread the word for our breast cancer partner, Army of Women.

Please read, share, and participate!

We need women in the United States who have been diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage (including LCIS and DCIS) to take part in an on-line survey developed by researchers who are trying to identify individual characteristics that may put some breast cancer survivors at higher risk of developing uterine cancer.

Studies have shown that the drug tamoxifen, which is used to treat women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer, can increase a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer. These researchers want to identify certain personal characteristics that might influence whether or not a woman taking tamoxifen goes on to develop uterine cancer. It is NOT necessary to have taken tamoxifen to complete this survey.

Please read on to learn more about what’s involved and who can participate. And please don’t forget to tell any of your friends or family who are breast cancer survivors about this on-line study!

What’s the study about?

The research team wants to develop a tool that can determine whether a woman with breast cancer is at higher risk of going on to develop uterine cancer. Women will be separated into two groups: 1. those who developed uterine cancer after being diagnosed with breast cancer and 2. those who did not develop uterine cancer after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Comparing the two groups will allow the research team to investigate the specific individual characteristics that are associated with developing uterine cancer after being diagnosed with breast cancer. If you were diagnosed with uterine cancer before you were diagnosed with breast cancer, you can still participate in the survey.

What’s involved?

If you sign up for the Breast Cancer, Uterine Cancer, and YOU Study, you will be sent a link to an on-line survey. The survey is confidential. This means that you will be asked to provide basic demographic information (such as age and ethnicity), but that you will NOT be asked for any identifying information (such as your name or e-mail address). The survey will ask questions about your smoking and exercise history, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment history, reproductive health and menstrual history, and personal and family medical history, including whether or not you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Who is conducting the study?

Michael Milam, MD, MPH, at the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center, in Kentucky

Where?

Anywhere in the United States – this is an on-line study

Who can participate?

You can join the Breast Cancer, Uterine Cancer, and YOU Study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

• You are a woman over the age of 18
• You have been diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage (including LCIS and DCIS) at some point in your life
• You have access to the Internet and are willing to complete an on-line survey
• You live in the United States

If you RSVP for the study and are found to be a match, you will receive a link to the on-line survey.

YES, SIGN ME UPYes, Sign Me Up

NO, THANKSNo Thanks

RECRUIT A FRIENDRecruit a Friend

Army of Women Seeks Volunteers for Cancer Study

A Message from Our Friends at Army of Women…

Endocrine therapies, such as Nolvadex (tamoxifen), Arimidex (anastrazole), Aromasin (exemestane), or Femara (letrozole), are medications for breast cancer that block or remove hormones. Endocrine therapies can improve survival in women whose cancer has estrogen receptors (ER+). Research shows that some women take their endocrine therapies very regularly, whereas others do not take it regularly, stop taking it, or switch to another endocrine medication. It is important to understand the factors that contribute to these patterns of medication adherence, so that programs can be developed to inform women who are starting endocrine therapy.

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and are now taking, or have taken within the past 12 months, one of the following pill-type medications: Nolvadex (tamoxifen), Arimidex (anastrazole), Aromasin (exemestane), or Femara (letrozole), please read about this study and consider signing up. Whether or not it’s right for you, please pass it along to any friend who you think might want to take part.

What’s the study about?

In an effort to find the best way to help medical personnel and women diagnosed with breast cancer, researchers have developed an online survey to understand women’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors relevant to taking endocrine therapies. You don’t have to leave your house to participate! Five hundred women are needed for this study.

What’s involved?

If you join this study, you will be directed to an anonymous online survey, which will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Questions ask about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors relevant to taking endocrine therapies.

Who is conducting the study?

Annette Stanton, PhD, University of California Los Angeles and Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

Where?

Anywhere in the United States

Who can participate?

You can join the Endocrine-ABC study if you match ALL of these criteria:

• You are a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer

• You are now taking, or have taken within the past 12 months, one of the following pill-type medications: Nolvadex (tamoxifen), Arimidex (anastrazole), Aromasin (exemestane), or Femara (letrozole)

• You have access to the Internet and are willing to complete an online survey

• You live in the United States

The researchers are interested in the experiences of ALL women, including those women who do or do not regularly take their medication, those who stop their prescription before the date recommended by their physician, and those who switch from one endocrine medication to another.

Saving Lives with ENERGY

MomsGetReal is proud to be a partner & supporter of the efforts of the Army of Women and we gladly dedicate this blog space to sharing their messages whenever possible. Please read & share this – it could save lives!!

A message from Army of Women

Studies suggest that women who are overweight are at increased risk of having a breast cancer recurrence. This is a problem that a group of researchers think they can do something about! Their Exercise and Nutrition to Enhance Recovery and Good Health for You (ENERGY) study was created to help breast cancer survivors develop healthy behaviors that can improve and promote long-term weight control.

We first sent a Call to Action in June to recruit 800 female breast cancer survivors to participate in the ENERGY study. The research team needs many more women to sign up! They have expanded their eligibility criteria and are now accepting women diagnosed with Stage Ic, II, IIIa, IIIb, or IIIc, who have a BMI of 25 or greater. If you match these criteria, have completed treatment, and live in San Diego, St. Louis, Birmingham, or Denver, please read on to learn more about the ENERGY study.

If this study isn’t the right fit for you, don’t stop reading just yet. We need you to think of women you know in these cities who might want to join this study. Got someone in mind? Forward the Call to Action!

What’s the study about?

This study will examine the effects of a program that was created to help overweight breast cancer survivors lose weight by increasing their physical activity level and developing healthier eating habits. A total of 800 women will be participating in this study across the United States at four research sites.

What’s involved?

If you sign up for the ENERGY study, you will be contacted by phone to answer questions about your breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, medical history, and current and past physical activity. If you appear to be eligible, and if you decide to join the study, you will be asked to go to the study site for a screening visit (described below). If the screening visit confirms your eligibility and you decide to join the study, you will then be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to one of two groups.

If you are assigned to Group A, the more intense program, you:

– Will be asked to participate in a group intervention program that consists of 26 structured classes over the course of one year (weekly meetings for the first 4 months, then once every other week for 2 more months, and then once a month for the remaining 6 months).

– Will receive up to 38 short telephone calls/emails over the next two years to help you reduce your food intake and achieve the desired level of physical activity.

– Will receive quarterly newsletters that are designed to help you achieve your goals as well as give you feedback on your progress and guidance.

If you are assigned to Group B, the less intense program, you:

– Will receive two consultations with a weight loss specialist and written materials that provide information about the current guidelines for weight loss and maintenance (at the beginning of the study and 6 months later).

– Will receive 6 bi-monthly group seminars on topics related to healthy living.

– Will receive monthly short telephone calls/emails over the next two years from the study staff.

All participants will be asked to participate in a clinic visit at the beginning of the study and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. This will include:

– Body measurements (weight, height, waist circumference, resting pulse and blood pressure).

– Giving a blood sample (about 2 tablespoons)

– Completing questionnaires about your health and well being, feelings and attitudes, treatment side effects, and physical activity.

– A stepping test to evaluate cardiovascular fitness. This involves stepping up and down from a bench that is 8 inches high for three minutes.

– At the San Diego site only, completing an on-line questionnaire about the food you have eaten during the previous 24 hours (only at the study entry, 6 month, and 24 month clinic visits).

You will also be asked to sign a medical release to permit the researchers to confirm your breast cancer diagnosis with your physician and to access relevant medical records.

The researchers need to enroll up to 800 women in this study.

Who is conducting the study?

Cheryl Rock, PhD, RD; Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH; Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD; Tim Byers, MD, MPH

Where?

University of California, San Diego
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Colorado, Denver

Who can participate?

You can join the ENERGY study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

– You are a woman 21 years of age or older

– You were diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 6 months to 5 years (not including recurrence, DCIS, or metastatic disease)

– You were diagnosed with Stage Ic, II, IIIa, IIIb, or IIIc breast cancer

– You are overweight (BMI of 25 to 45 – to calculate your BMI click here)

– You have finished all initial breast cancer treatments (i.e. Chemotherapy, Radiation, Herceptin). You may enroll if you are still taking a nonsteroidal antiestrogen (Tamoxifen).

– You do NOT have a history of other cancer types (non-melanoma skin cancer is OK)

– You are able to be physically active (You must be able to complete the 3 minute step test)

– You are NOT currently enrolled in another nutrition or weight loss study

– You are NOT currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 2 years

– You are willing and able to attend group meetings and stay in contact with the study staff for two years

-You live near or are willing to travel (at your own expense) to one of the following locations:

o University of California, San Diego
o Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
o University of Alabama at Birmingham
o University of Colorado, Denver

After you RSVP, the research staff will contact you to ask additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

Please note: If you have already submitted an RSVP for this study, you will not be able to RSVP again, as our system only allows ONE RSVP per study. If you think that you now qualify, please e-mail us directly at studies@armyofwomen.org to let us know that you can’t RSVP on-line and that you would like to sign up.

Got Milk? Army of Women Needs Your Breast Milk!

A message from our friends at the Army of Women

Breast milk may hold a clue to giving women information about their personal risk of developing breast cancer. We are recruiting women who are breastfeeding moms who have had a breast biopsy in the past or are scheduled to have a breast biopsy to send in samples of their breast milk.

We have recruited for this study in the past, and have already enrolled more than 250 women, but most of the samples have come from Caucasian women. Since breast cancer risk factors differ between ethnic groups, we are now looking specifically for African American breastfeeding moms. Read on to learn more! Not breastfeeding yourself but know a woman who is? Forward the Call to Action!

What’s the study about?

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst are studying the breast cells normally found in breast milk to see if there are any epigenetic differences–which have the potential to be reversed–between women whose biopsies turn out to be healthy and those whose biopsies show a problem, such as cancer.

Learning more about these epigenetic differences may eventually help researchers develop a way to provide women with information about their breast cancer risk.

What’s involved?

If you sign up for the Milk Study, you will be contacted by the research team to confirm that you are eligible for the study. If you are eligible and decide to join, you will receive a container in the mail containing sterile bottles for milk collection, a consent form, a patient eligibility form, and a questionnaire. You will be asked to complete the consent and eligibility forms and questionnaire, which will ask questions about your breastfeeding history, medical history, and any previous biopsies you may have had. You will be asked to donate two fresh milk samples (one from each breast).

You will put the signed consent form, completed patient eligibility form and questionnaire, and breast milk in the box they came in and the box will be picked up by Fed-Ex (at no cost to you).

After the research team receives your breast milk samples, they will contact you to ask if you have had a breast biopsy. If you have had a biopsy, you will be asked to provide a copy of the biopsy report.

Approximately 1 year after sending your breast milk sample, the research team will contact you to ask about any breast problems you have had in the last year.

The information you provide is confidential and will be kept private.

The researchers need to enroll up to 200 African American women in this study.

Who can participate?

You can join the Milk Study if you match ALL of these categories:

– You are a nursing/breastfeeding mom

– You consider yourself to be African American/Black

– You have had a breast biopsy at any time in the past OR you are going to have a breast biopsy to diagnose a lump found in your breast

– You live in the United States

After you RSVP, the research team will ask additional questions to be sure this study is the right fit for you.

Who is conducting the study?

Kathleen Arcaro, PhD, Douglas Anderton, PhD, and Sarah Lenington PhD, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts

Where?

Anywhere in the United States, all necessary participation in handled through the mail.

Stress Management for Breast Cancer Survivors

A message from our friends at Army of Women:

For women under age 50, a breast cancer diagnosis can cause stress related to personal, work, and family responsibilities and the effect cancer treatments can have on reproductive health that is unique to women in this age group. Younger breast cancer survivors need effective techniques to help them manage stress and improve well-being.

Mindfulness is paying attention to present moment experiences with an element of openness and curiosity. Meditation is one way to bring mindfulness into your life. A research team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has developed a mindfulness meditation program that they hope will improve younger breast cancer survivors’ quality of life by, for example, decreasing depression, stress, and fatigue and improving sleep quality and biological functioning. Now, they need your help to see if it works!

Are you a female breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed before the age of 50? Were you diagnosed in 2001 or later? Do you live in or near the Los Angeles area? If you answered yes to all three questions, please read on to learn more about what’s involved and who can participate.

If you aren’t able to participate in this study, you can still do YOUR part: forward the Call to Action to someone you know who might be interested. As a member of the Army of Women you have an important opportunity to accelerate breast cancer research by forwarding this e-blast and helping to fill this study. And that’s not all! YOU can also make a difference by inviting your friends, family, colleagues–ANYONE you know over the age of 18–to join the Army of Women. Together, we can reach our goal of ONE MILLION strong!

Calling All West Coast Breast Cancer Survivors

A message from our friends at the Army of Women

Are you a breast cancer survivor who is just too tired to read this entire e-blast? You’re not alone! Sleep problems, including difficulty falling or staying asleep, are familiar to many breast cancer survivors. A group of researchers at Stanford University is studying whether acupuncture can reduce sleep disruption and improve sleep in breast cancer survivors. Currently, there are no studies evaluating the effectiveness of needle acupuncture for insomnia in cancer patients.

This study may sound familiar to you. That is because we first sent a Call to Action in February to recruit 64 female breast cancer survivors in the San Francisco Bay Area. With help from the Army of Women, the research team is almost halfway to their goal. Let’s help get them to the finish line! If you are a female breast cancer survivor living in the San Francisco Bay Area who has completed treatment (hormonal treatment is OK), and who has difficulty falling or staying asleep, please read on to learn more about what’s involved and who can participate.

We know that not everyone will be able to join this study. But that’s OK! Every member of the Army of Women community has a chance to participate in her own, important way–by joining a study, passing along our information, or helping recruit new members. Help to fill this study by forwarding the Call to Action to your friends, family members, or anyone you know who might be interested in learning more! And keep looking at our e-blasts–the next study could be the one for you or someone you know!

What’s the study about?

The purpose of the study is to learn whether acupuncture can reduce sleep disruption and improve sleep in breast cancer survivors. The study will enroll 64 female breast cancer survivors who have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

What’s involved?

If you decide to sign up for the Acupuncture for Sleep Problems study and you match the main requirements, you will be asked to go to Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., for a screening interview. You will be asked to provide a blood sample and complete questionnaires about your background, medical history, health-related behaviors, sleep, mood, and stresses related to cancer.

If you are eligible for the study and decide to join, you will be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to one of two treatment groups. Group A will receive acupuncture using traditional acupuncture points designed to provide maximal relaxation and help with sleep. Group B will receive acupuncture treatment using sham needles in your body. These are needles that are NOT traditionally associated with relaxation and sleep. Both groups will receive acupuncture treatments twice a week for 6 weeks. Throughout the study and for one month after you complete treatment, you will be asked to complete questionnaires and daily diaries as well as provide blood and saliva samples. You will also be asked to wear a wristwatch-like device that will record your physical activity during the daytime and at night.

The researchers will explain all study activities in detail.

Who is conducting the study?

David Spiegel, MD, Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine

Where?

Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.

Who can participate?

You can join the Acupuncture for Sleep Problems study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

– You are a woman age 21 or older
– You have been diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage (including DCIS and metastatic disease) at some point in your life. It is OK if it is a recurrence.
– You are not currently undergoing breast cancer treatment (hormonal treatment is OK) OR treatment for another cancer type
– You have been experiencing sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep) for at least one month
– You are NOT currently pregnant or breastfeeding
– You have NOT had acupuncture within the past 6 months
– You are willing and able to stop receiving other treatments for sleep problems during the study period
– You are able to speak, read, and write English
– You live near or are willing to travel (at your own expense) to the Palo Alto, CA area.

After you RSVP, the research staff will ask you additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

The Effects of Depo Provera on Breast Tissue Study

MomsGetReal™ is a proud supporter in the fight against breast cancer. Get your BoobiePower on by joining the Army of Women. Please read this special message from our friends at Army of Women and consider participating if you can.

Women who give birth before the age of 30 are at lower risk of developing breast cancer than both women who have never had a child and women who have their first child after age 35. This may be because pregnancy causes permanent changes in the breast tissue that reduces long-term breast cancer risk.

Is it possible that giving a woman a high dose of progestin (synthetic progesterone like hormone) could reduce breast cancer risk by causing these same changes to occur in the breast tissue? This is what a group of researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are trying to find out!

To test their hypothesis, the researchers are studying women who are currently receiving Depo Provera (birth control) injections which provide a high dose of a synthetic progestin that is similar to the hormone progesterone, which is released during pregnancy.

If you live near or are willing to travel to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and are currently receiving or intend to start intra-muscular injections of Depo Provera, and this sounds like a study you might be interested in, please click the link below for more information!  The researchers currently only need four more women in order to close this study.

Note: Deciding to use Depo Provera for birth control is a personal choice that should be made with your doctor. We are NOT recommending that you start taking or even inquire about taking Depo Provera simply to participate in this study.

For more information on the study, click here:

http://www.armyofwomen.org/current/view?grant_id=416

The Army of Women initiative, funded through a grant by the Avon Foundation for Women, was launched as a way to help researchers connect directly with women who are interested in participating in breast cancer research studies. Volunteers sign up at  www.armyofwomen.org and get an email alert every time a new study is seeking volunteers (once or twice a month). You get to decide which one you fit and/or are comfortable participating in. Some studies are as simple as an online questionnaire while others involve giving blood, spit or even tissue samples. And if you don’t fit the study, you can pass it on to everyone you know. The Army of Women has amazed the scientific community by their ability to recruit participants from across the country and world, rapidly saving years of effort and lots of money.

Join more than 355,000 women (and a few good men) who are willing to go the next step in eradicating breast cancer.  The Army of Women needs YOU!

To learn more about the Effects of Depo Provera on Breast Tissue Study, click here:

http://www.armyofwomen.org/current/view?grant_id=416

To learn more about the Army of Women and to sign up, click here:

https://www.armyofwomen.org/getinvolved

Thank you for all your support!

Dr. Susan Love Explores the Role of Shift Work in Breast Cancer

We are happy to dedicate today’s blog space to an important message from Dr. Susan Love and the Army of Women. Please consider sharing this with the women in your life! ~Shadra & Tiana

Guest Contributor Dr. Susan Love

In an age where everything is open 24/7, there’s a growing number of women and men who now work the graveyard shift accommodating the night owls.  It’s no longer limited to nurses and flight attendants! The clerks at Walmart, the 24-hour drive-thru windows and the customer service telephone operators that we call when our computer breaks or our WiFi goes down are working overnight hours as well. What these night workers may not know is that epidemiological research suggests that working the graveyard shift increases their risk for breast cancer. But the big question remains: Why?

Unfortunately, much of the research on breast cancer has been done in rats and mice! There are certainly some important findings that can come from this type of investigation; however, we have yet to hear of a mouse working the night shift. For this we need to study women!  And if we want to understand the connection between working the night shift and breast cancer we need to study women who work the night shift and compare them to women who work days.

The  Army of Women, a program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, is currently recruiting for the Shift Work and Breast Cancer Risk Study led by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  The research team is studying breast tissue samples from women who have not had breast cancer, who have worked either day or night shifts (stay-at-home mothers qualify as day-shift-workers; nurses, police women, firefighters, hotel workers, factory workers qualify as night-shift-workers) for at least five consecutive years to better understand how wake/sleep cycle disruptions may increase breast cancer risk. Later, the researchers will compare the samples collected from women who have not had breast cancer to breast tissue samples collected from women with breast cancer.

Learn more and sign up for the Shift Work and Breast Cancer Risk Study:

http://www.armyofwomen.org/current/view?grant_id=335

This study is a good example of the kind of research we desperately need! For all the fundraising we have done, we still don’t know the cause of breast cancer. The vast majority of women who get breast cancer have none of the known risk factors. Obviously we are missing something big! So even if you are not a night shift worker, you should consider signing up for the Army of Women. We need to compare women with breast cancer to those who haven’t been diagnosed! We need to explore the potential environmental links as well as the possibility that a virus could be the cause.

The Army of Women initiative, funded through a grant by the Avon Foundation for Women, was launched as a way to help researchers connect directly with women who are interested in participating in breast cancer research studies. Volunteers sign up at  www.armyofwomen.org and get an email alert every time a new study is seeking volunteers (once or twice a month). You get to decide which one you fit and/or are comfortable participating in. Some studies are as simple as an online questionnaire while others involve giving blood, spit or even tissue samples. And if you don’t fit the study, you can pass it on to everyone you know. The Army of Women has amazed the scientific community by their ability to recruit participants from across the country and world, rapidly saving years of effort and lots of money.

Join more than 354,000 women (and a few good men) who are willing to go the next step in eradicating breast cancer.  The Army of Women needs YOU!

To learn more about the Shiftwork and Breast Cancer Risk Study, click here:

http://www.armyofwomen.org/current/view?grant_id=335

To learn more about the Army of Women and to sign up, click here:

https://www.armyofwomen.org/getinvolved

Bunny Hop Your Way to Understanding Breast Cancer Treatment

bunniesToday, we wish everyone a wonderful day filled with love and family. However, rather than our usual JibJab holiday video, we’re dedicating our blog space to organizations we’re proud to be supporting, Army of Women and Until Every Woman Knows. Chances are, you know, or will know, someone with breast cancer. Learn what she doesn’t know–not every woman with breast cancer needs chemo. You may be the one to tell her about personalized breast cancer treatment. Help raise awareness.

Please take a moment to watch this important video about breast cancer, then pass this video on to all the women you know. Visit www.UntilEveryWomanKnows.com for more info.