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Menopausal hot flashes a good sign for lower breast cancer

Women who experience irritating menopausal hot flashes may now find a silver lining to their discomfort: decreased risk for breast cancer.

According to research published in January 2011, higher rates of hot flashes are associated with up to a 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer in women between the ages of 55 and 74, according to USA Today.

High levels of estrogen may contribute to higher breast cancer risks. Hot flashes are attributed to hormonal changes, such as lower estrogen levels.

"We certainly wouldn't go around inducing menopausal symptoms to reduce breast cancer risk," Dr. Christopher Li, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, told the news source. "But if we can better understand the underlying biological mechanisms, that could help in developing prevention strategies."

Dr. Li's findings were published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

According to the nonprofit organization BreastCancer.org, a hot flash is defined as a "sudden, intense, hot feeling on your face and upper body, perhaps preceded or accompanied by a rapid heartbeat and sweating, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, headache, weakness, or a feeling of suffocation." 
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