It’s been five years since Angelina Jolie dropped her bombshell editorial in The New York Times. And while people may not be talking about her double mastectomy anymore, the conversation about BRCA — the gene that increases susceptibility to breast cancer — is still alive and well.
The mere mention of this lethal gene sends most women into a panic. And for good reason. Certain BRCA mutations combined with a family history of the disease put a woman’s risk for breast cancer at 85 percent, and risk for ovarian cancer at around 50 percent.
But as scary as they may be, these statistics are only part of the story. That’s why I want to share the following study with you today.
A team of researchers recently looked at breast tissue samples from 82 different BRCA carriers. And sure enough, they found a significant connection between BMI and levels of DNA damage in normal breast tissue.
Specifically, obesity was linked to increased DNA damage in both BRCA and non-BRCA samples. But the effect was much more pronounced in breast tissue from the BRCA positive women.
These findings are crucial for a couple reasons. First, it’s proof positive that obesity directly impacts breast cells. But more importantly, it shows that BRCA carriers may be able to ward off what is largely considered to be an inevitable breast cancer diagnosis, simply by keeping their weight in check.
I’ve said it here before, but it bears repeating. The choice to get tested for BRCA is a personal one — one that only you can make. And decisions about what to do with those results are even more personal. The stakes are high, and none of it should be taken lightly.
With that said, as a doctor, I feel it’s important to remind my patients that you do have a choice. And preventive double mastectomy is not the only option.
It’s not necessarily the one I recommend, either. Instead, I typically suggest very close monitoring — with breast ultrasound and/or MRIs twice per year. (You know how I feel about mammograms. It’s not worth risking the radiation.)
I also suggest targeted nutritional supplementation, which I discuss in great detail in my upcoming cancer protocol, set to be released this summer (stay tuned here for updates). And most importantly, focusing on the quality of your diet should be priority No. 1. My A-List Diet is a great place to start to get yourself on the right track.
But for a more complete discussion of how to approach BRCA — both testing for it and deciding what to do with the results — I urge you to go back and read the August 2013 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives.
The article will help guide you through your options. Whether you know your BRCA status — or you’re still weighing the decision to find out — I want to prepare you to make a choice that you can live with, one way or the other.
Subscribers have full access to this issue, and more, in my archives. (Simple log into the Subscribers section of my website, www.DrPescatore.com, with your username and password.) And if you haven’t signed up yet, consider taking the plunge today. I promise you won’t regret it.