With so much news about breast cancer and the ever present danger of having it, getting it, and knowing someone we love and care about with it, we all do our breast exams, and keep up with our thermograms and mammograms, and remind a buddy, Right? I WISH!
Truth be told, less than 10 % of us actually keep up with our own health, let alone anyone else’s. Possibly, we think that if I don’t think about sickness, cancer, disease, health, then I am not going to get sick, it is not going to happen to me, or I’ll just ignore it and it will go away. But we are wrong again. With this article, I hope to persuade a few more percent to be proactive in not only our own health but those of our families, friends, neighbors, pets, etc. Get the point?
First, to bring this home to us and further understand our own risks, let us review risk factors for developing breast cancer.
- Prior breast cancer: If you have ever had it, please keep up with your examinations and do everything in my prevention section below. Also having had a breast biopsy that showed “lobular carcinoma in situ” and “atypical ductal hyperplasia” puts you at higher risk.
Genetics and Family history: The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer is about one in eight for women, but is about two to three times greater for women with a history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) than in women with no family history of breast (or ovarian) cancer. Only 9% of breast cancer can be attributed to a “family history” of breast cancer and fewer associated with a hereditary gene or germ cell mutation, i.e. the BRCA1 and BRCA2. There is a higher association between breast, ovarian, and colon cancers. Therefore your personal risk is increased by:having a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer
- having multiple generations of family members affected by breast or ovarian cancer,
- having relatives who were diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age (under 50 years old),
- having relatives who had both breasts affected by cancer.
- BRCA1 and or BRCA2 positive
Environmental Factors: 90% of breast cancers are attributed to various environmental factors such as:
- Exposure to ionizing radiation
- Exposure to DDT and contaminants of pesticides (this research has been inconsistent)
- Smoking and second hand smoke
- Obesity, especially adult weight gain
- Alcohol use
- Older age of first child’s birth and never having a child
- Later menopause
- Also, the risk of prolonged hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women on Premarin and Provera has been shown to increase the risk by 8 per 10,000 women.
We can come to grasp our individual risk as 1 in 8 women in my lifetime. So, let’s now talk about PREVENTION of breast cancer.
Here is what we know about breast cancer prevention. It begins with strengthening your immune system. Follow this advice and you will not only help to reduce your risk of breast cancer but hopefully prevent it and many other illnesses, too.
- If you smoke – QUIT!! – I often tell my patients, if I could think of one good thing about smoking I would tell them, but I can not. NO! NO! NO! QUIT!
- Exercise 30 minutes 5 days per week and incorporate meditative exercises weekly as well such as a long walk, deep breathing exercises and restorative yoga because we want to lower cortisol
- Drink plenty of water, good old H2O! 8 to 10 glasses per day to keep our body fluid and flush toxins
- Eat your vegetables with lots of colors!!! Squash, carrots, tomatoes. These contain carotenoids that fight disease. Also, the cruciferous vegetables like broccoli (especially sprouts), cauliflower, brussel sprouts contain sulfurophanes which have been shown to be breast protective.
- Eat Salmon, oysters, sushi, seaweed, nuts, olive oil, lean meats, don’t deep fry. Foods in their natural form have many “anti-oxidants” that help our body fight off “free radicals” that promote disease.
- Supplement your diet with Vitamins E,C, Omega-3. Again, these are powerful anti-oxidants that have favorable effects on our immune system to fight off disease.
- Stop drinking alcohol or limit to 4 oz of red wine per night (begun after you begin your meal).
- Avoid foods that may have stored hormones or pesticides, i.e. eat free range, organic, non-gmo.
- Shed those extra pounds and work hard to keep them off and maintain your goal weight.
- Tamoxifen and Raloxifene are in ongoing studies evaluating their role in prevention of breast cancer.
- BE MINDFUL! Our bodies are given a special power to heal and take the opportunity each day to invoke that. Some ways that you can do this is:
Anything that you can do to enhance your joy of life and relieve your stress to give back your body its maximum power to heal itself. In my work with a few indigenous healers it was expressed to me that the breasts hold the energy of relationships/hurt/resentment. Digging deep to release these emotions/sentiments is powerful and very healthy. Not easy but so beneficial. I often recommend working with an EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) practitioner or a specialist in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). I personally use both methods quite regularly!
Here are some additional key supplements that I recommend for healthy breasts:
- Mighty Maca®Plus because of its ability to alkalinize and detoxify
- Pura PPr cream which is a natural progesterone and pregnenolone combination cream. These are our mother hormones and progesterone (bio-identical NOT synthetic) has been shown to support breast health and improve symptoms of fibrocystic breasts and estrogen dominance.
- Vida SGS which contains the protective and detoxifying phytochemical found in broccoli called sulforaphane glucosinolate. It is a long lasting antioxidant and protects cells from free radical damage.
- Vitamin D/K2 combination to keep your serum Vit D 25 OH levels above 50
- Pura Snooze which is a melatonin lozenge. Seriously, nothing better than a good nights sleep to improve the bodies defense systems
- Probio Max is a potent probiotic which support intestinal health which supports immunity
I know that breast cancer can seem and feel like a death sentence. But even if you’re diagnosed, there’s hope. Next time, I’ll share some success stories that we can all learn and take heart from. Until then, do your “homework” listed above.
Here’s to your healthy breasts forever!