Women With This Common Skin Condition Might Be More Prone to Breast Cancer

woman looking in mirror moleAfter all this time and experience, isn't it amazing how little we still know about cancer? Take the most recent discovery. Two different studies found a link between moles and breast cancer. The more moles women have, the higher their average risk for cancer, even when you eliminate other factors like lifestyle and sun exposure.

This could be all about hormones. Women with more moles tend to have higher levels of both estrogen and testosterone. And higher estrogen levels have been linked with breast cancer. So what does that mean? Should those of us with an abundance of beauty marks get screened earlier or more often? Is there anything we can do with this information?

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Nope. Not a thing. "Don't panic," says Professor Barbara Furman, who wrote commentary for the two studies when they were published in an online medical journal. "This is very interesting biologically, but it probably doesn't tell us a lot about an individual woman's risk of breast cancer. It probably tells us more about the general etiology [causes] of breast cancer."

In other words, this gives doctors who study cancer a few clues to follow, but they would have to do a lot more research before they could recommend any lifestyle changes. But there's another cancer study that might.

Eating red meat may be linked with breast cancer. It appears that the more meat you consume, the higher your risk of cancer. (I'm sorry it's not the other way around. That would be awesome! But no.) Doctors suspect that red meat may speed up cell division and tumor growth.

This study falls under "needs more research," too. Doctors disagree over whether or not cutting meat from your diet really cuts your chances of getting cancer. It's all about balance. If you already suspect you could stand to cut back on your meat consumption so you can fit in more grains, fruit, and veggies, this is just one more reason to make that change.

How much do you think your lifestyle affects your risk for breast cancer?

 

Image © GARO/PHANIE/phanie/Phanie Sarl/Corbis

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