Today’s CDC/MMR reports that the rate of breast cancer, that had been slowly increasing, has now declined.

The reason is unclear.

Doctors suspect most of the decline is because of the decreased number of women using hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen and progesterone makes the tumors grow faster, and it is unclear if there are actually fewer tumors, or if the tumor drop is due to the slower growth so fewer are detected. Right now it appears both reasons might be behind the drop.

Yet other factors might be involved, since the drop started before the government advised against hormone replacement therapy.

Other factors could be diet. High fat diets increase estrogen levels, as do obesity.

An increase in breastfeeding could also lower the rate.

All of this is good news for women.

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician  living in the Philippines.

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