Breast Cancer Prevention

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According to the American Cancer Society, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes. Men can get breast cancer as well, although it is much rarer. Cancer touches everyone: most of us have a friend or relative who has received a cancer diagnosis. Prevention and early detection are the best ways to fight this disease. Although some people are more prone than others to developing breast cancer due to genetics and environmental factors over which they have little control, balancing that with a healthy lifestyle and healthy choices can make a big difference.

Lifestyle Risk Factors…

  • There’s a clear link between obesity and breast cancer. This is especially true if you gain excess weight later in life, particularly after menopause. Experts speculate that estrogen production in fatty tissue may be the link between obesity and breast cancer risk.
  • Alcohol consumption is a risk factor for breast cancer. How strongly they are connected remains to be determined. The type of alcohol consumed — wine, beer or mixed drinks — seems to make no difference. To protect yourself from breast cancer, consider limiting alcohol to less than one drink a day or avoid alcohol completely.
  • The results of scientific studies have raised concerns about the use of hormone therapy during menopause. Long-term treatment with estrogen-progestin combinations appears to increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Some health care professionals argue that this increased risk might be reduced or eliminated when bioidentical hormones are used instead of synthetic hormones. There is little evidence to support this claim at this time, but bioidentical hormone therapies may emerge as a safer alternative with more research.
  • Did you know that there is a connection between stress and cancer? Stressful states increase cortisol levels in the blood, which can cause immune system dysfunction. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your everyday routine. Meditative practices such as yoga and tai chi can be particularly effective at helping people manage their stress levels.
  • One Harvard non-clinical study, which was based on statistical data, suggests that wearing a bra may increase breast cancer risk. The authors found that the odds of getting breast cancer were greater in women who habitually wore their bras over 12 hours a day. Bras can restrict the flow of lymph within breast tissue, which hinders the breast’s natural cleansing and detoxification process.

Early Detection and Prevention of Breast Cancer…

  • Perform a monthly breast exam the week following your period. Draw a breast map and record the presence of any lumps or changes in breast tissue. Follow up with a healthcare professional if you detect any changes.
  • Perform light breast self-massage three times per week.
  • Exercising four or more hours a week may decrease hormone levels and help lower breast cancer risk. Exercise will also help maintain a healthy weight and help improve circulation.
  • Eat your veggies. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli may protect against breast cancer because they lower levels of estrogen, which is a hormone that plays a role in tumor growth. Additionally, isothiocyanates— the anti-cancer compounds found in broccoli— can help in the detoxification of your liver and can rid your body of carcinogens.
  • Avoid the use of plastic food containers and wraps. Plastics can leech man-made estrogens and contaminate the food or beverage inside. Instead, use glass or ceramic containers to store food.
  • Get some sun! Vitamin D is a hormone that your body naturally produces when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential to your body, but as many as 36% of us are deficient. Vitamin D may protect us from breast cancer by stimulating the production of a protein that prevents breast cancer cells from growing. If you let yourself get sunburned, though, you’ve overdone the sun exposure.
  • Alkalize your blood. A healthy pH balance — the ratio of alkaline to acid in the body — is crucial to being cancer-free. Cancer thrives in acidic environments but is unable to survive in alkaline ones. Make sure your diet is rich in alkalizing foods such as green vegetables, beans, spices, herbs, seeds and nuts. Limit your consumption of alcohol, coffee, meat, fish, poultry and eggs.

Sources:
1. Breast Cancer Prevention: Lifestyle factors that can reduce risk http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-cancer-prevention/WO00091
2. Breast Cancer Prevention http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/prevention/breast/Patient/page3

3. Bioidentical Hormones: Are They Safer? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bioidentical-hormones/AN01133
4. Breast Cancer Prevention: Us a Holistic Approach http://www.naturalnews.com/027233_cancer_brst_health.html
5. Holistic Breast Cancer Prevention http://www.naturallysavvy.com/womens-health/holistic-breast-cancer-prevention
6. Bras and Breast Cancer by Ralph L. Reed, Ph.D. http://www.all-natural.com/bras.html
7. Hormone-mimics in Plastic Water Bottles Act as Functional Estrogen http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326100714.htm