A Prevention Perspective on Breast Cancer: Dr. Thomas Hudson offers hope, self-care and prevention
Oct 02, 2013 01:32AM
By Linda Sechrist
As the Director of Women’s Imaging at the NCH Outpatient Centers, longtime Naples resident Thomas Hudson, M.D., has the perfect platform to educate every woman undergoing a breast screening at his facility in South Naples, formerly Fueredi Radiology. Heartfelt guidance about a woman’s risk of breast cancer and what she has the power to do to avoid it is his specialty.
Hudson, the author of Journey to Hope: A Book of Self-Care and Prevention, enjoys a daily routine that includes giving patients the results of their mammograms and answering their questions, which often are not radiology-related, but rather about health in general.
“Women want to know what they can do for themselves,” says Hudson. “They want to know how their diet, lifestyle, and level of stress affect their breast cancer risk. I realized years ago that nothing in medical school prepared me to answer those questions. After having to say, ‘I don’t know,’ way too many times, I decided to do my own research, and was amazed at what I found. As it turns out, the genetic component of breast cancer isn’t nearly as strong as previously thought. In fact, in three out of four cases there is no family history at all.”
Hudson feels that educating women about risk factors and their ability to influence their breast health is a big part of his medical responsibility. “A hundred years ago,” he reminds us, “heart attacks were considered a strictly inherited condition, but today, medical science recognizes that diet, stress, and lifestyle choices influence heart health. And the same is true of breast health,” he says. “If women over 50 maintained a normal body weight, for instance, deaths from breast cancer would drop 50 percent. Women who exercise more than four hours a week cut their risk by the same percentage.
“Women who have a family history of breast cancer often feel that they’re doomed to get it themselves, but nothing could be further from the truth,” says Hudson, a faculty member of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. “A woman’s risk of breast cancer is not fixed,” he emphasizes. “It can be modified by what she eats, how she feels, and even what she thinks. We are mind, body, and spirit. Each is important, not only in decreasing our risk of disease, but to our experience of life in general. We can’t leave one out without diminishing the other two. This is the real key to health, he maintains, “and the main reason I wrote the book,” says Hudson.