breast lumps

Low-dose aspirin may be powerful cancer fighting tool for women

The use of low-dose aspirin (81 mg) reduces the risk of breast cancer in women, a new study concludes. Researchers saw an overall 16 percent lower risk of breast cancer in women who reported using low-dose aspirin at least three times per week.

A City of Hope-led study found that the use of low-dose aspirin (81mg) reduces the risk of breast cancer in women who are part of the California’s Teacher’s Study. This study — which is the first to suggest that the reduction in risk occurs for low-dose aspirin — was proposed by City of Hope’s Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Biomarkers of Early Detection and Prevention, and published online in the journal, Breast Cancer Research.

Bernstein and her colleagues saw an overall 16 percent lower risk of breast cancer in women who reported using low-dose aspirin at least three times per week. Such regular use of low-dose aspirin reduced the risk by 20 percent of estrogen or progesterone receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer, which is the most common breast cancer subtype.

“The study found an interesting protective association between low-dose aspirin and breast cancer,” said lead author Christina A. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. “We did not by and large find associations with the other pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. We also did not find associations with regular aspirin since this type of medication is taken sporadically for headaches or other pain, and not daily for prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

This study differed from other studies that have looked at aspirin and cancer risk because it focused on the dose levels of the aspirin women had taken and tracked the frequency of the use of low-dose aspirin as opposed to regular aspirin. It was also able to look in detail at subtypes of breast cancer.

“We already knew that aspirin is a weak aromatase inhibitor and we treat women with breast cancer with stronger aromatase inhibitors since they reduce the amount of estrogen postmenopausal women have circulating in their blood,” said Bernstein. “We thought that if aspirin can inhibit aromatase, it ought to reduce the likelihood that breast cancer would develop and it could also be an effective way to improve breast cancer patients’ prognosis once they no longer take the more potent aromatase inhibitors.” Bernstein added, “Aspirin also reduces inflammation, which may be another mechanism by which aspirin taken regularly can lower risk of breast cancer developing or recurring.”

As part of the study, researchers analyzed data recorded in questionnaires submitted by 57,164 women in the California’s Teacher’s Study. In 2005, participants answered questions regarding family history of cancer and other conditions, use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), menstrual and reproductive history, use of hormones, weight and height, living environment, diet, alcohol use and physical activity. In the ensuing years before 2013, 1,457 of these participants developed invasive breast cancer.

The team of researchers chose to focus on low-dose “baby” aspirin, because not only is it inexpensive and readily available as potential means of prevention, but because there are already a lot of people already taking it for prevention of other diseases such as heart disease and even colon cancer.

Now that we have some data separating low-dose from higher-dose aspirin, more detailed research can be undertaken to understand the full value of low-dose aspirin for breast cancer prevention,” said Clarke.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by City of Hope. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Christina A. Clarke, Alison J. Canchola, Lisa M. Moy, Susan L. Neuhausen, Nadia T. Chung, James V. Lacey, Leslie Bernstein. Regular and low-dose aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and prospective risk of HER2-defined breast cancer: the California Teachers Study. Breast Cancer Research, 2017; 19 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s13058-017-0840-7


Read this article on science daily:  “Regular use of aspirin can lower risk of breast cancer for women: A new study identifies low-dose aspirin as a potential cancer prevention tool.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2017.

Important women’s health screenings that shouldn’t be overlooked

Routine medical screenings are an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Many health screenings are recommended for both men and women, but women also should include some gender-specific testing in their health routines.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That popular adage can be applied to personal health, particularly with respect to women’s health screenings. The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Call for an appointment today: (707) 579-1102.

• Breast cancer: Both men and women can get breast cancer, but women are at a far greater risk than men. According to, roughly one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. The Canadian Cancer Society says breast cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian women. The earlier a woman finds breast cancer, the better her chance for survival. Cancers caught early are less likely to spread to the lymph nodes and vital organs than cancers caught at later stages. Recommendations on mammogram screening start time and frequency vary with age and risk factor, so women should discuss and develop an individualized plan with their doctors. Read the full story …

Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group –Focuses on Healthy Lifestyle Choices during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa is helping to empower women during October by participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month and sharing a few facts about the disease.

It’s good to know that most women who have one or more breast cancer risk factor in their lives never actually develop the disease. But when there is increased awareness about the risk associated with some factors – particularly those that revolve around lifestyle choices - that knowledge can only serve to empower women to make better choices. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual event aimed at increasing awareness of the disease. Knowing the facts about breast cancer can help women to not only take the necessary steps to detect the disease in its early stages, but to also make lifestyle changes that are most likely to reduce the odds of developing the disease in the first place. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, second only to skin cancer. Today millions of women are surviving the disease thanks in part to early detection, improvements in treatment and by making healthy lifestyle choices.

The First Step in Staying Healthy

Routine breast exams and general awareness of how to maintain breast health are important elements in living a healthy lifestyle. The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group recommends routine screening methods such as regular self-breast exams, breast checks during annual gynecologic exams, and screening mammography – all known approaches that can help to detect breast problems early-on. Early treatment of breast problems can contribute to the long term success of any treatment that is needed.

Factors that Increase Breast Cancer Risk:

It’s good to know that most women who have one or more breast cancer risk factor in their lives never actually develop the disease. But when there is increased awareness about the risk associated with some factors – particularly those that revolve around lifestyle choices – that knowledge can only serve to empower women to make better choices.

Some risk factors such as age, genetics or race cannot be changed. Other factors, such as those found in the environment, can also be difficult to alter. While some factors influence risk more than others, a person’s risk for developing breast cancer can change naturally – by increasing or decreasing risk – over time primarily due to aging and lifestyle changes.

According to the American Cancer Society there are several factors that can weigh in on a woman’s breast cancer risks including:

• Having children after age 30 –has shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in some.
• Birth Control – oral and injectable contraceptives stand out in studies as contributors to breast cancer.
• Alcohol consumption – the link between alcohol use and breast cancer is particularly strong in studies. The more consumed, the higher the risk.
• Weight – women who are obese or overweight seem to have an increased level of risk for developing breast cancer, primarily due to the higher insulin levels that accompany obesity.

Known Factors that Lower Risk:

Researchers continue to search for a link between diet and breast cancer risk and although results are often conflicting many studies indicate that diet may play a role. One recent study found a higher risk of breast cancer among women who consumed more red meat. Another indicator of increased risk is a high-fat diet, which can lead to weight gain or obesity, which is a known breast cancer risk factor.

Other known or suspected factors for lowering the risk of breast cancer include;

• Breast Feeding – for women who breast feed for 1.5 to 2 years studies suggest that there may be some benefit in reducing breast cancer risk
• Physical Activity – a growing body of evidence indicates that a person’s risk of developing almost any cancer, particularly breast cancer is reduced in those who adopt a routine of physical activity. A daily routine of just under 1.5 hours is optimal while as little as 1.25 per week may reduce the risk by up to 18% according to some studies.

How OB/GYN Providers can help

Self-check breast exams are easy to perform in the home and should be conducted monthly in addition to annual breast exams with a physician at Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group. Depending on a patient’s age and individual health, the physician may recommend a more frequent interval of regular check-ups with a health care provider.

We recommend that patients who suspect a breast health problem contact a provider immediately. The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. To learn more visit our website or to call for an appointment dial (707) 579-1102.

The Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa Takes a Look at Breast Cancer Prevention for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Helping to increase awareness and save lives the Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa reveals what women can do in their own lives to prevent breast cancer.

ribbon whiteBreast cancer is among the top two most common cancers in women today, second only to skin cancer. Although the number of new cases has begun to show a slight decrease, about 40,000 women are expected to lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. Statistics tell us that about 1 out of every 8 women born in the United States today will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. The good news is that if it’s found and treated early enough, many women can, and will survive breast cancer. The drop in breast cancer mortality has been attributed to both improvements in breast cancer treatment and early detection.

Breast cancer typically shows up in four ways:

• during a screening examination
• before symptoms have developed
• after symptoms have developed
• when a woman self-detects a lump

By and large, most suspicious masses detected by a mammogram as well as most breast lumps will turn out to be benign or noncancerous and therefore do not grow uncontrollably or spread and become life-threatening. Microscopic analysis of breast tissue is necessary to arrive at a definitive diagnosis or to determine the extent of potential spread and to characterize the pattern of the disease. Tissue samples for this type of analysis are generally obtained by way of a needle or surgical biopsy.

The First Line of Defense – Early Detection

More than fifty percent of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making common sense healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, pursuing an active routine, and getting the recommended screenings. Early management of breast problems can contribute to a more positive outcome of any treatment that may be prescribed. Awareness of how to maintain breast health is important to living a healthy lifestyle that includes;

• self-breast exams
• breast checks during routine gynecologic exams
• screening mammographies

Self-check breast exams are relatively easy to perform at home and should be conducted monthly, this combined with annual breast exams with your physician at Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group will help to detect breast problems early-on. Depending on factors such as age and individual health, a more frequent interval of regular check-ups may be recommended for some women.

Healthy Lifestyle Choice Can Lower Risk

The American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines recommends some variation of the following healthy lifestyle choices for lowering the risk of many types of cancers, including breast cancer;

• Be physically active and include a routine of daily exercise
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
• Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily
• Include whole grain foods in your diet (such as whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa)
• Limit consumption of red meat and processed meat (particularly important for menopausal women)
• Limit “bad” fats (commonly found in red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn)
• Eat “good” fats (found in olive, canola and coconut oil, nuts, avocados and olives)
• Limit alcohol intake (no more than one drink a day for women)

Of all the healthy lifestyle choices for reducing breast cancer risk, the growing evidence associated with regular physical activity is perhaps the most impressive. Studies outlined by the National Institutes of Health now suggest that women who get regular physical activity have as much as 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who are inactive, and postmenopausal than premenopausal women show the best results. The benefit may be due to the overall effects of physical activity on body mass, energy balance and hormones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity spread over the week (or an equivalent combination) is all it takes to reduce the risk of many cancers.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102. We urge you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians if you suspect that you may have any breast health problems.