As you are probably aware – October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. No matter your age, you can begin preventive measures now. Most are very simple lifestyle changes. Will following these tips mean you will not ever be diagnosed with breast cancer? Maybe, maybe not – but a little prevention goes a very long way!
Breast Cancer Prevention – Easy Ways to Reduce Your Risk
- Limit your exposure to environmental pollution. There is research that suggests there is a link between breast cancer and the hydrocarbons found in vehicle exhaust and air pollution. One study showed that if you run 5 miles along a heavily congested road or while there is a lot of pollution in the air, it could be the equivalent of smoking 6 packs of cigarettes! Pay attention to where you are exercising and watch what you breathe…..it DOES matter!
- Breast-feed. Studies show breast feeding plays a vital role in preventing breast cancer. The longer you breast feed – the greater the protection. So go forth and nurse! The benefits are two fold, babies who were breast fed have a less chance of developing breast cancer than babies who were formula fed.
- Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink – the greater your risk. If you do choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to just one drink per day and, um, no saving up and binge drinking! That is a definite no-no!
- Control your weight. The most common form of breast cancer just happens to be estrogen fed. Estrogen tends to hang out fat cells. So if you are overweight – chances are you have excessive amounts of estrogen lying in wait. This does not simply mean keeping your weight at a certain number. It means keeping your body fat low and making sure the majority of your weight is in muscle mass. There are a lot of “skinny fat girls” out there – and they need to know – they are at risk too.
- Get plenty of physical activity. This one goes hand in hand with the previous tip. The more active you, the thinner you will likely be, and exercising builds muscle mass. We need about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week – this includes brisk walking or swimming. If you are the vigorous exercising type, you need just 75 minutes per week. ( examples of this would be running.) Be sure you add a couple days of strength training for good measure!
- Discontinue hormone therapy. This includes birth control pills ladies! We know the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy – but I had not really thought about birth control. That is until my doctor pointed out that he really likes his patients over the age of 30 to use another form of birth control. However you look at it – it is adjusting your natural hormonal balance and can create an over-abundance of estrogen. as for hormone replacement, there are natural ways to control those post-menopausal symptoms as well. You may have to work very closely with your doctor and pharmacist to come up with a regime that works best for you.
- Watch your diet. Make sure you are getting plenty of green veggies and eat fruits that are high on the ORAC scale to get your antioxidants in. Choose lean cuts of meats, poultry or fish and drink lots of water. And SUPPLEMENT. It is very rare to be able to get all of the nutrients we need from food alone, so contact your local health food store to help you select products that are best for you.
Following these easy steps should greatly reduce your chances of breast cancer. For more information visit the Susan G. Komen Foundation website.