Healthy Living

Increased Risk of Breast Cancer with African American Diabetic Patients

Increased Risk of Breast Cancer with African American Diabetic Patients

According to the data analysis results of the study conducted by Boston University and headed by Dr. Julie R. Palmer, African-American women with type 2 diabetes were confirmed to have about a 43% higher risk of having estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer as compared to women without diabetes.[1]

Furthermore, a previous study by the same research team about the significant effect of diabetes and breast cancer in the mortality in African-American womenshowed an evident result that breast cancer mortality risk is higher in women that were diagnosed with diabetes five years prior their breast cancer.[2]

Have a question aboutDiabetes?Ask a doctor now

Although Dr. Palmer cautioned that the findings they have gathered are still a preliminary result that needs further studies, the data collected is more than enough proof of the link between diabetes and breast cancer.

Type 2 diabetes is a type of diabetes that used to be known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Simply speaking, it is an insulin deficiency. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that converts glucose from food into energy. Type 2 diabetes happens when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin or when insulin resistance happens within a person’s body.

According to the Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Type 2 accounts for 95% diabetes cases, 9.4% of the U.S population have diabetes, and 13.2% of that population are African-American Women.

Breast cancer is most common for women, although men can also suffer from it. It usually begins with a small lump formation or calcium deposits in the breast tissue that gets bigger without treatment. There are three types of breast cancer according to its estrogen receptor, Estrogen Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer is less common with little-known prevention and treatment strategies as compared to the more common ER-positive breast cancer. Since ER-negative tumors do not respond to the same treatments as the ER-positive tumors.

According to the significant data gathered by the study conducted by a group of researchers, women that are of a non-African ancestry are less likely to be diagnosed with ER-negative breast cancer as compared to women of an African ancestry.[3]

Reduce the risk: fight diabetes

A lot of research findings agree on the fact that African-American women are more likely to develop an ER-negative breast cancer which has resulted in a high mortality rate in African-American women.

Although the old adage “Prevention is better than cure” might have become an overused line. For this instance, it should become the mantra of African-American women in the fight against the risk of breast cancer development due to diabetes.

But, what are the ways to fend off diabetes?

The answer is a change in their lifestyle should take effect. But, this sounds a lot easier than it actually is. According to a Qualitative Study, African-Americans have the highest obesity rate of 45% in the United States. They also have the lowest rates of physical activity. Compared to other ethnicities, African-Americans were less likely to meet the daily recommended fruit and vegetable consumption. To significantly reduce their risk of developing the ER-negative breast cancer, African-American women will have to break the mold and start living a more healthy lifestyle.

Ways to fight diabetes

Start with a healthy diet

A good diet does not mean skipping carbohydrates or fats, it means eating the right kind of carbohydrates and fats. A simple choice of eliminating soda and processed food can result in a massive impact on a person’s health. Choose to eat healthy by making sure that the food groups are present in each meal and stick to an eating schedule, do not skip any meal.

Drink plenty of water

The body is made up of 70% water; therefore, it needs water to function properly. Drinking water promotes weight loss, it flushes out the toxins in the body with the help of sweat glands, it aids in food digestion, and it is proven to boost the immune system.

Walk or transfer that channel to a dance program

Like any cardiovascular activity, brisk walking has been reportedly beneficial to prevent the onset of diabetes. The best thing about brisk walking is you pay no gym membership fee nor would you need any home work-out equipment. If walking isn’t possible, then look for a TV program that features dance tutorials or play Zumba fitness videos and dance along. Keeping the body active is a key to becoming healthy.

Quit smoking

Smoking is related to a number of growing health problems. 50% of smokers will likely develop diabetes than non-smokers, not to mention other health problems. However, the American Lung Association has great news for smokers who want to quit or in the process of quitting. It is proven that as soon as you stop smoking, the body will immediately repair itself to repair the damage caused by smoking.

Consume alcohol moderately

While alcohol consumption has been linked to the reduction of heart disease and a significant positive effect in helping insulin get inside cells, too much alcohol consumption will also lead to other health problems.

Get enough sleep

Because of the fast-paced life the world is in, the required number of hours to sleep is seldom met. However, anyone that wants to improve their health should consider getting enough sleep their priority. Sleep and the metabolism, as it turns out, are controlled by the same sectors of the brain, and getting enough sleep is also linked to getting an immune system boost.

Take precautions to prevent breast cancer

While diabetes is one factor that increases an African-American Women’s risk of getting breast cancer, there are other factors to consider before she can say that she’s risk-free.

Dig up the family history  

Family genes are the one thing that African-American women have no control over. However, knowing if there is a history of breast cancer will help understand whether or not she will develop the cancer herself. Then, she can take all the necessary precautions to minimize her risk of getting the disease.

Screening is important

This is not only important for African-American women with a family history of breast cancer but to all woman. Although it does not cure or prevent cancer, a mammography saves lives by detecting cancer at the earliest stage when it can be treated.

This is a procedure that people with a family history of a certain type of cancer is checked to look for any signs of cancer developing. This has helped a lot of people in detecting their cancer at the earliest stage. The later the detection of cancer is, the harder it will be to treat it. If the doctor suggests a screening test to his or her patient, it does not necessarily mean that he or she believes his patient has cancer. A screening is only a diagnostic tool.

Bear in mind that self-exams are not enough. It is recommended for women to be familiar with their own breasts should any tell-tale sign alert them of a change, however, an expert's opinion is always necessary.

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318808960_Abstract_5286_Type_2_diabetes_and_increased_risk_of_estrogen_receptor-negative_breast_cancer_in_African_American_women

[2] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10552-016-0837-z

[3] http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1006727