Keiko Nishi writes:
Mrs. Masuda is somewhat worried about
developing breast cancer. She is a postmenopausal 48-year-old native Japanese
who had lived in Canada for almost 20 years. The followings are problems
I would like to talk to her about. First she is 15 kilos overweight, moreover
she doesn't exercise much. She seems to be obese, and obesity is associated
with not only breast cancer but also a variety of other medical disorders.
Second she misunderstands the fact that fewer Asian women develop the breast cancer than women in the West. There have been hundreds of studies that have shown that as people move from one risk area, or an area where the risk for diseases of a certain kind are either lower or higher, to another area, they take on the risk of the country to which they move without changing their genetics. So those kinds of data really suggest that genetics has little to do with the risk of getting these sorts of diseases.
Third, Mrs. Masuda's diet is one of the most serious problems. She eats a lot of meat, cooks with a lot of oil, dislikes vegetables, and prefers desserts. Fats are said to be linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Trans fatty acids are prominent in margarine and some vegetable oils like coconut oil. A study of nearly 700 postmenopausal European women found that those whose bodies contained the highest levels of trans fatty acids were 40 % more likely than those with the lowest levels to develop breast cancer. The greatest risk was seen among women with both the highest trans fatty acid levels and low levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. And it is also said that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and grains may help prevent cancer and other diseases, perhaps by strengthening the immune system.
The last problem is the way Mrs. Masuda goes on a diet by skipping breakfast. Skipping meals reduces insulin levels abnormally so the next meal the dieter often overeats. That leads to being overweight which increases the risk of cancer.
So I want to give some suggestions to Mrs. Masuda. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Genetic, environmental, and gene-environment interactions are now considered as key elements in breast cancer etiology. In these risk factors, environmental ones are the factors she can avoid herself.
To Mrs. Masuda.
First maintain a desirable body weight with continuous easy exercise. A desirable body weight is one way to achieve health. And never skip your meals, because skipping meals often causes you to eat too much later on, leading to obesity.
Second, let me inform you that the Japanese living in Western countries for a long time can develop a high risk of breast cancer. So it is not easy way for you to feel relieved that you are an Asian woman.
Third, try a low-fat, high-fiber diet, because this kind of diet is linked with lower levels of female hormones that are found to develop breast cancer. At the same time, take more vegetables and fruits, because they are chemically very complex and contain many biochemicals that may contribute to reduction of cancer risk. Still more, limit consumption of salt-cured, smoked and nitrite-preserved foods.
The most important point for you, Mrs. Masuda, is to consider the following. If you change your way of living according to my advice, you can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Good luck, Mrs. Masuda.
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