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“Moderation” Says The Geneticist – But What is Moderate?

January 28, 2015

I had a mammogram yesterday. All the staff wear pink scrubs, even the doctors. It’s a little cute for my taste.  I find the whole experience unpleasant at best. But I reminded myself that this is what self-care looks like. It means going for routine check-ups and having an attitude of gratitude for the researchers, scientists, technologists and practitioners who develop these potentially life saving systems. Also for the X-ray tech with warm hands.

I am in a high risk population because of my family history. The doctor asked if I would be willing to meet with the geneticist on staff to determine a numeric statistic of my exact risk.  Depending on the number, they will adjust their “observation” of me over the years. I agreed.  Guess what? I am in a high risk population. No news there.

She referred me to some healthy guidelines which included drinking in moderation.  The “m” word.  What does moderation look like?  Two glasses instead of three?  Wine, but not liquor? “Week-ends and dinner parties, “I suggested.  She agreed.  “It’s the everyday that’s a problem.” she said.

Drinking more than a glass a day statistically increases your risk because alcohol increases estrogen in the blood. Who knew?I was glad to receive this news during my month of abstinence – ish. It’s easier to imagine restraint when you are already practicing it. If I had been drinking every night at dinner for the last few weeks, learning that is was a real considered risk factor would have been more unsettling. But having already experienced changing my habit made me feel more confident about making a lasting change.

I was surprised they didn’t ask about green tea consumption.  The doctor I see is a big fan of daily green tea consumption, especially matcha – because drinking green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer.

So taking off the bottom line means a lot less wine during the week and adding to the top line means drinking more green tea daily.  I wondered what the numeric model would project if there was a field for green tea consumption. I’m sure the risk factor would drop off a few points.

Ladies – go get your screenings.

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