The key to this topic is the word “prevention.” Cancer, in general, is not declining as a desease. To put it bluntly, we are not winning the war against it and medications and treatments are not always curing it.
This week we will talk about some very important things you can do for yourself to dramatically decrease your chances of getting breast cancer (and men, listen up, because you are at risk for this type of cancer, too).
Here are my top five rules for breast cancer prevention:
1. Breastfeed your children. Research shows that moms who breastfeed enjoy a much lower risk of getting breast cancer.
2. Avoid eating red and processed meats. Red meat and any processed meats, such as cold cuts or deli cuts, should be consumed no more than once per month. Studies show that post-menopausal women who eat three or more ounces per day of red or processed meats have a 64 percent greater chance of getting breast can-cer. In pre-menopausal women, a weaker association is shown, but those with the highest total intake were 20 percent more likely to have the disease.
Now that grilling season is upon us, I must add that charbroiled or burnt red meat is even worse because of the P-450 carbons (major free radicals that vigorously undermine your good antioxidants) that are stuck to the charbroiled meat.
3. Exercise. You’ve heard it a thousand times! Exercising three hours per week reduces your risk of any type of cancer by 30 percent. And, if you add just one more hour of exercise each week, your risk is lowered by more than 50 percent, depending on the type and intensity of exercise.
Look up the target heart rate for your age and try to stay in your range for at least 30 of your 60-minute session. Studies also show that yoga is beneficial for people who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer. It decreases pain and fatigue, gives you more vigor and creates relaxation and acceptance. Yoga incorporates nutrition, ethics, exercise and meditation with the intention of bringing your mind, body and spirit together. Yoga is absolutely wonderful for wellness in general.
4. Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed in a few studies on the use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that taking ibuprofen every day for five years or more increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer by 50 percent. Daily use of aspirin for five years or more causes ER/PR-negative (not related to estrogen or progesterone) breast cancer to spike by 80 percent. A separate but related study showed that taking these NSAIDs regularly for six months or more may double your chances of dying from a heart attack or stroke (we will discuss this more in another article–just a reminder to be an informed consumer). If you can’t live without it, try a more natural pain killer.
5. Avoid anti-perspirant use. This is my personal favorite. First, let’s discuss how toxins are released from your body. One of the most important places for toxins to be released is your underarm. And, yes, once the toxin/sweat combo reaches air, bacteria forms, and that’s where the infamous body odor smell comes in. So just slather on the deodorant a few times a day and you’re good, right? Wrong. The lymph system (the system in your body that sucks up toxins and flushes them out) is very extensive and concentrated in your underarm and it extends directly into your breast tissue. When you use deodorant with anti-perspirant, you stop the sweat. This not only stops the toxins from excreting, it sucks up any toxic properties in your deodorant! Then, over time these nasty toxins accumulate in the area. Johns Hopkins University currently is doing a large push to help women understand this process and its detrimental link to the disease. Just check your deodorant and make sure it does not have aluminum in it. Here’s a trick I use…I always keep a supply of baby wipes in my purse and every once in a while I’ll wipe off my underarm toxins and re-apply a tea tree oil-based organic deodorant. So far, I haven’t had anyone cover their nose!
Remember, one step at a time…slow, small changes are still changes, and they’re the ones that stick with you.