Awareness is important but the conversation needs to be about preventing breast cancer. Only 10% of all cancers are genetic, even breast cancer is not usually caused by a genetic predisposition. A mere 15% of breast cancer patients actually have a family history yet it is the second most common cancer in women. Second only to skin cancer.
The good news is that we can reduce our risk with healthy lifestyle habits. Even small changes can improve our health and increase longevity. Many of these tips can help prevent other cancers and illness as well as breast cancer.
- Get screened. Early detection is the key. Be sure to conduct monthly self exams and seek proper screening based on your age group and family history. You may need an ultrasound or sonogram in addition to a mammogram. The most effective type of mammography is the Genius 3D which has been found to detect 41% more invasive cancers and is proven to detect cancer 15 months earlier. Tell your doctor you’d like that one, it’s available in every state.
- Avoid parabens. You know how I feel about parabens if you’ve been reading my blog for a while. Use cosmetics and sunscreen that are formulated without them because parabens mimic the body’s natural hormones increasing the risk of breast and other cancers. They are found in 99% of breast cancer tissue samples.
- Eat less red meat. A study published in the BMJ that followed 89, over a 20 year period revealed that women who had an average of 1.5 servings of red meat each day had a 22% higher chance of breast cancer over women who limited their red meat intake to once a week. With each addition daily serving of red meat, the risk appeared to increase by 13%
- Move your bod. Hit the gym, lace up those running shoes, pop in a work out DVD, power walk with a friend– choose some type of physical activity because just 30 minutes of exercise each day reduces your chance of getting breast cancer. Plus exercise boosts t-cells that help your immune system work at full capacity
- Stay at a healthy weight. Exercise also helps keep your body fat percentage in check. Too much fat on our bodies creates hormones, particularly estrogen, which has been found to stimulate cancer
- Garlic, turmeric and cruciferous vegetables including brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and bok choy are good breast cancer fighters because they bind estrogen in your GI tract
- A study showed that drinking 3 cups of green tea a day can reduce risk of breast cancer by 50%
Fortunately survival rates are at an all-time high for those with breast cancer. In the last 20 years, there has been a 30% reduction in mortality and over 90% of breast cancer patients survive after 5 years with early diagnosis.
- Steer clear of Bisphenol A. I have written about the dangers of BPA in several posts. It’s found in everything from plastic containers to the lining of canned foods to cash register receipts. BPA is problematic because it imitates estrogen so it disrupts our endocrine system and messes with hormones. It’s been associated with many cancers including breast cancer
- Choose lean protein. Replace those red meat meals with nuts, beans, organic chicken and low mercury fish such as wild caught salmon
- Know your family history. While only 15% of breast cancer patients have a family history, if you do, your risk is higher so you need to know and take precautions and get genetic testing if your physician recommends it
- Stay away from pesticides. They can also affect the way your hormones react so buy organic when possible, use green cleaning products and stay away from hand sanitizers & soaps containing the endocrine disruptor triclosan. This cousin to agent orange is classified as a pesticide
- Ask your doctor about taking the active form of vitamin D3 with K, 1000 iu’s a day may slash your risk of breast cancer up to 50%. Taking D with vitamin K is important for helping prevent calcification
- HER-2 is a rare but aggressive form of the disease. Another study found that eating lots of raw salad veggies dropped the risk of developing it by close to 35%
- Curb your alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day. Studies show that over imbibing on a regular basis increases the risk factor. I love my wine, I’m not suggesting anyone stop enjoying it but, as with most things, moderation.
- Breastfeed. It’s been shown to lower risk and it boosts infants health and immune system
- This is a bonus tip but perhaps one of the most important: DITCH THE TOXIC DEODORANT & ANTIPERSPIRANT! Seriously, that shit is toxic. Parabens and Aluminum have been found in breast cancer tissue. Aluminum is also associated with Alzheimer’s. A new brain develops Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds and two thirds of those people are women. It’s in your brain for about 20 years before you even shows signs. Want a safe, healthy alternative that actually works? Try Schmidt’s, Pure Haven Essentials or Meow Meow Tweet.
I am passionate about raising awareness about what we can do to prevent breast cancer and other illnesses. But let’s switch gears and discuss a deceitful practice that needs to end: Pinkwashing.
I am grateful to companies that raise real funds for breast cancer research and prevention. However, I find it horrendously hypocritical when companies sell products with ingredients that have been shown to CAUSE BREAST CANCER! Don’t you?!
Everywhere you turn in October companies are Pinkwashing us by claiming to be in support of breast cancer research while using ingredients that are mammary carcinogens, or carcinogenic contaminants that behave as endocrine disrupting compounds in our bodies, causing hormonal imbalance. As the Gerson Institute calls it, ‘carcinogens for the cure.’ Yep.
“Pinkwashing – verb 1. the sale of items containing known carcinogens, while marketing these products in support of breast cancer awareness 2. also, capitalizing on the promotion of breast cancer prevention when only concerned about bottom line profit margin.”
It’s said that Evelyn Lauder’s dream was to end breast cancer. Why doesn’t the company jump off the breast cancer awareness bandwagon and honor her memory by reformulating their products WITHOUT harmful cancer causing ingredients?! L’Oreal, Proctor & Gamble and many others do it too. How do they sleep at night?!
According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, which is doing amazing work in the name of prevention, “thousands of chemicals linked to breast cancer in scientific studies.”
Avon’s part in all of this is perplexing. They raise millions with their walk, have created a “Center of Excellence” in breast care and claim the mission of the Avon Comprehensive Breast Care Program at San Francisco General Hospital is to ‘provide comprehensive breast care, education and research in a compassionate and culturally sensitive environment.’Yet, many of Avon’s products contain toxins. Ludacris.
Women’s Voices For The Earth offers good tips on how to avoid being pinkwashed. Breatcancerfreebies.com, created by breast cancer survivor Bethany Kandell, is a site that truly helps patients.