If you are below the age of 40, the words “breast cancer” probably do not resonate very strongly unless your genetic makeup is predisposed to contain a breast cancer gene. In fact, you may have been told by your doctor that you do not need to undergo breast cancer screenings for several more years. However, taking preventive measures to care for your breast health now can greatly reduce the risk of cancer when you reach a more vulnerable age.
Some of the breast cancer risk factors to be aware of include a family history of breast cancer and exposure to certain hormones. Breast cancer prevention consists mainly of making healthy life choices. I encourage you to begin taking the following six steps now:
Step 1: Limit alcohol intake. Research on the correlation between alcohol and breast cancer has shown that as few as three drinks per week can increase the risk of breast cancer by 15% (compared to women who don’t drink at all), reports Breastcancer.org. In addition to damaging DNA, alcohol can raise the levels of hormones involved in hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, such as estrogen. Swapping alcoholic drinks for their virgin counterparts benefits your overall health, including the health of your breasts.
Step 2: Avoid smoking (or quit now). Among the many adverse effects of smoking is a high risk of breast cancer, especially among premenopausal women. Smoking can also cause complications for women who are undergoing breast cancer treatment, such as delaying healing following breast surgery and reconstruction or damaging the lungs during radiation therapy.
Step 3: Maintain a healthy weight. Fat cells create more estrogen, which can lead to hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. Belly fat in particular has shown a high association with breast cancer. Losing and maintaining weight becomes increasingly difficult with age, but practicing healthy weight tactics now can help you cultivate a breast cancer-free body. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about reaching and maintaining the right weight for your body type.
Step 4: Eat nutrient-rich food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that diet plays a part in as much as 40% of all cancers. Prevent cancer with proper nutrition by not just cutting out unhealthy fats and sugars, but consuming more nutrient-rich foods like dark colored vegetables, fruits and roots and tubers. A proper diet boosts your immune system, and nutrients such as fiber have been linked to a decreased breast cancer risk in premenopausal women.
Step 5: Reduce exposure to environmental pollution. While the role of environment in breast cancer continues to be debated, studies have shown a correlation between dense breasts (less fatty tissue than non-fatty tissue) and exposure to fine-particle air pollution. Air pollution often contains chemicals that act as hormone disruptors, which affect the body’s hormonal balance and can change the way estrogen acts within the body. If you live in an area with poor air quality, limit your time spent outdoors and keep your windows closed until the air improves.
Step 6: Get tested regularly to detect breast cancer at its earliest sign. Breast thermography, also known as digital infrared imaging, uses medical infrared cameras and computer technology to detect increases in regional surface temperatures in the breast. This can be an indication of cells speeding up their circulation to provide nutrition for pre-cancerous and cancerous tissue. Thermography is an excellent procedure for younger women, who make up 15% of all breast cancer cases according to the Pacific Chiropractice and Research Center, because it can provide a future risk assessment that determines if you need more frequent health checkups.
While these practices can decrease your likelihood of developing breast cancer, they are not guaranteed. It is important to check your breasts regularly for unexplained lumps or any changes in the feel or appearance of the areolae, and report any findings to your primary doctor. For more information about holistic ways to prevent breast cancer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contact Sage Nutrition and Healing Center at 303.503.5969 today.