One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer – a shockingly high and scary statistic.
For a woman with Type 2 Diabetes, her risk of getting breast cancer is 20-27 percent higher than a woman without the disease.
There are many risk factors you cannot change (non-modifiable) when it comes to breast cancer – age, gender, genetics – but there are some risk factors you do have control over (modifiable) that can lower your chances of getting breast cancer.
These modifiable risk factors include: living a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight and eating an unhealthy diet. These modifiable risk factors also overlap with risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes.
Losing weight, eating a healthier diet (one void of processed foods and full of whole grains, vegetables and lean proteins) and increasing your overall physical activity can help lower your risk of breast cancer and Type 2 Diabetes.
However, it is difficult to determine if diabetes alone is a risk factor for breast cancer, since many of the modifiable risk factors are the same risk factors for diabetes. Yet, research does show that women with T2D has an increased risk of developing breast cancer, and a 50% greater chance of mortality, if diagnosed, than a woman without diabetes.
There is goods news; there are screenings for early detection, and early detection saves lives. Yearly mammograms are critical for catching breast cancer in its early stages. Women 40 years of age and older should get a yearly mammogram. Be sure to discuss annual breast screenings with your physician. Some women may need screenings at an earlier age or more frequently.
Mammography technology is not what it used to be – now we have 3D mammography and Automated Breast Ultra Sound (ABUS) that catches cancer earlier and provides clearer images and less chance of repeat imaging.
October is breast cancer awareness month, the perfect time to drive home the message of controlling what we can control when it comes to this disease – eat right, move more, lose weight (if you need to) and get your yearly mammogram. Following this advice will not only benefit your diabetes self-management, but it may also save your life!