HOTFLASHES | October 2023

How does menopause affect breast cancer risk?

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to talk about the connection between menopause and breast cancer. This article will talk about the connection and some general tips t lower your breast cancer risk. Read below for more information.

What is the connection between breast cancer and menopause?

While menopause doesn’t cause breast cancer or other cancers, the rates of cancer diagnoses do increase with age. Some drugs used to manage menopause symptoms may also increase or decrease your risk of certain cancers.

Menopause Drugs and Cancer Risks

Research suggests the longer you are exposed to female hormones, whether they’re made by your body, taken as a drug, or worn as a patch, the more likely you are to develop breast cancer. If you are struggling with menopausal symptoms, you may be given hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The longer you take HRT with a combination of estrogen and progestin, the greater your chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer is.

Other Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

In addition to hormonal factors and age, there are other risk factors for breast cancer including:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Having previously had cancer in one breast
  • Having a history of ovarian, uterine, or colon cancer
  • Having a gene mutation like BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • Late menopause (after age 55)
  • Starting menstruation before age 12
  • Having a first child after age 30
  • Never having children
  • Being overweight or obese after menopause

How can I lower my breast cancer risk?

While you can’t prevent breast cancer and you can’t change many of the risk factors listed above, there are still steps you can take to lower your risk of breast cancer. Some of these include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Being physically active.
  • Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limiting the amount of processed and red meat you eat.
  • Drinking no more than one alcoholic beverage daily for women.

What is SIDS?

SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is when a baby younger than one year old dies suddenly with no real explanation. Since SIDS death are commonly associated with sleep, it may sometimes be referred to as “crib death.”

SIDS is sudden and unexplained, and this can make it very scary. While we still don’t have all the answers to SIDS, there are things you can do to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS. One of the biggest steps you can take is to place your child on their back to sleep, not their stomach or sides. Below, we’ll go over what the increased risk for SIDS are and what safe sleep looks like.

Who’s at an increased risk of SIDS?

Most SIDS deaths happen in babies who are between one and four months old, and cases do rise during cold weather. Babies are at a higher risk of SIDS if:

  • Their mother smoked, drank, or used drugs during pregnancy or after birth
  • Poor prenatal care for the mother
  • Premature or low weight birth
  • Family history of SIDS
  • A mother younger than 20
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke after birth
  • They get overheated.
  • They sleep on a soft surface.
  • They sleep with soft objects or loose blankets and pillows.
  • They sleep in a parent’s bed.

What is safe sleep?

Safe sleep is when your baby sleeps on their back in their own firm sleeping space (like a crib, bassinet, or pack and play). Additionally, you should have pillows, loose blankets, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, or other objects in your child’s sleeping space.

In addition to having a safe sleeping space, other steps you can take to reduce the risk of SIDS include:

  • Getting early and regular prenatal care.
  • Have your baby in your room, but not your bed.
  • Breastfeed if possible.
  • Offer a pacifier to your baby during sleep time.
  • Dress your baby for the room temperature and don’t over bundle them.
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs during pregnancy or after birth.
  • Don’t let your baby fall asleep in items not designed for sleep (car seats, boppy billow, swings/bouncers, or an infant lounger).
  • Don’t use weighted blankets, sleepers, or swaddles on or around your baby.
  • Make sure your child gets all of their recommended vaccines.



Italian Pot Roast


  • 3 lb boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup diced pancetta (or good quality bacon)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped, carrots
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir or beef stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the beef with the salt.
  2. In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-high, until glistening. Add the beef to the pot in batches and cook until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Using tongs, set the meat aside on a plate, the meat does not need to be cooked through at this point.
  3. Still over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta until crispy. Add the onions, carrots and celery, stirring constantly to scrape up brown bits, until softened, about 5 minutes. If your vegetables are sticking to the bottom, deglaze the pot with water a few tablespoons at a time. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
  4. Stir the tomato paste into the vegetables. Pour in the wine, thyme and bay leaves, stirring until combined. Using tongs, nestle the beef into the wine/vegetable mixture, along with any juices from the plate. The meat should not be completely covered. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, cover with the lid. Place in the oven until the beef is very tender, about 2 hours.
  5. Transfer the beef to a serving dish and tent with foil. Bring the liquid and vegetables to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered. After about 8-10 minutes the liquid should thicken and reduce by about ⅓. Pour the thickened sauce over the top of the beef.
  6. Garnish with pepper and parsley and serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.