Breast cancer sucks, and today I am sharing some easy ways we as women can reduce our risk of developing breast cancer (among other cancers). It is the second leading cause of death in American women and is affecting women at a younger age and becoming more virulent. I feel the most important thing we can do is to educate women on what they can do reduce their risk, how to suppress the genetic disposition to breast cancer, and for women who’ve already beat it, how to reduce their risk of recurrence. Most of us probably know the bad habits that increase risk like drinking alcohol daily, smoking, taking prescription medication regularly, and eating processed food/sugar and large amounts of animal products. Instead I want to focus on some steps we can take that may be a little less well known.
2. Maintaining a BMI of less than 22.8 greatly reduces your risk. Excessive weight, especially stomach fat, acts as estrogen factories. Obese women are more likely to have metastasis and die from breast cancer. Fat also increases inflammatory molecules which fosters growth and spreading of tumors.
3. Regular exercise (1 hr – 5 times per week) decreases risk by 20-30%.
4 Vit D inhibits tumor growth. If women can keep their levels between 40-55ng/mL we could prevent 58,000 new cases of breast cancer each year! Ask your doctor about the 25 Hydroxy test to check your levels.
5. Getting enough sleep is super important! So busy moms, sometimes we just need to let the house be a disaster and take a nap with our kids (I’m talking to myself here too
6. Cruciferous vegetables contain some of the most important cancer fighting compounds out there! There is even some research suggesting they may actually suppress the gene (GSTP1 activity) responsible for the genetic disposition for breast cancer. (think kale, cauliflower, broccoli, arugula, brussels, bok choy, watercress)
7. Onions prevent abnormal cells from obtaining blood so they can’t grow.
8. 10g of mushrooms daily (1 little mushroom!) reduces risk of breast cancer by 64%.
9. Berries also prevent abnormal cells from obtaining blood so they can’t grow
10. Eat freshly ground flax seeds (1 tablespoon) daily – study of women with breast cancer from diagnosis until surgery (about 32-39 days) showed the women eating control flax muffin (25g) had reduced cancer cell growth and significant cancer cell death.