By the time we reach our 50s, many of us have either been diagnosed with breast cancer or know someone who has dealt with this devastating disease. Even though medical science has made tremendous advances in breast cancer treatment, we still hear the words "breast cancer" as a death sentence. In fact, as a new study reports, the vast majority of breast cancer patients will die of something else – most likely, heart disease.
The study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, found that nearly two-thirds of women with breast cancer died from other causes, particularly heart disease. Researchers from the University of Colorado followed over 60,000 women in the U.S. for up to 12 years after their diagnosis. The women were at least 66 at the start of the study.
Almost half the women were alive at the end of the study and those who died lived to an average age of 83. Cardiovascular disease killed more of the women with breast cancer than cancer itself.
The message here is clear. Since scientists still don't really understand why so many of us get breast cancer, the best thing you can go to protect yourself is to get screened regularly. Heart disease is much better understood. If you eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and keep your blood pressure under control, you will increase the chances of living to a healthy old age – even if you do get breast cancer.