October 19, 2010
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Top 10 to prevent Breast Cancer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month or the pink month, Women Fitness (WF)
offer the following tips for those who are interested in knowing something on
how to really prevent breast cancer.
The unalterable risk factors that boost the risk of breast cancer, according to
American Cancer Society, include gender (females get more breast cancer); aging;
genetic risk factors (BRCA1 and BRCA2); genetic variants (ATM, p53, CHEK2, PTEN,
CDH1); family history of breast cancer; personal history of breast cancer; race
and ethnicity; dense breast tissue, and certain benign breast conditions;
lobular carcinoma in situ; more menstrual periods or early puberty; previous
chest conditions and diethylstilbestrol exposure.
Genetic variants can be controlled to some extent by adjusting a person's diet
and lifestyle. Just because you have a relative who has breast cancer or you
carry certain genetic mutations does not mean you have suffer with cancer. It is
clear that lifestyle and diet can influence risk from faulty genetics.
According to the ACS, modifiable factors that boost the risk of breast cancer,
include having children late in or having no children; using oral contraceptives
or hormone therapy; not breast feeding; drinking alcohol; being overweight or
obese and physical inactivity.
1. Exercise regularly - Women with low levels of physical activity and higher
body mass index levels are at more than twice the risk of developing breast
cancer than women who undertake approximately three metabolic equivalent hours
(MET) per day, per year, of exercise, and have lower BMI levels, the researchers
(at Meharry Medical College and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center) found. A 25
kg/m2 body mass index among Western women is considered to be normal weight,
while a BMI of 25 kg/m2 among Asian women is considered to be in the overweight
category and was associated with an increased breast cancer risk in this study.
Women who exercise have a 35 percent lower risk of developing breast carcinoma
in situ than did inactive women. Level of exercise recommended is equivalent to
about 45 minutes of brisk walking or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per day.
Some studies have reported that athletes who exercised vigorously and
participated in competitive sports had a lower risk of breast cancer than did
non-athletes. However, others have reported that women who do not participate in
competitive sports but who exercised regularly, such as three hours per week
throughout their reproductive years, had a lower risk of breast cancer as
compared to women who never exercised.
2. Eat more unrefined seed foods. They all contain phytoestrogens. If you eat
foods rich in these elements, you are 4 times less likely to be diagnosed with
breast cancer. You should consume whole grains, beans, nuts, edible seeds,
fruits and vegetables with their seeds. The superstars for breast cancer
protection include all cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels
sprouts, cauliflower); dark leafy greens (collards, kale, spinach); carrots and
tomatoes. The superstar fruits include citrus, berries and cherries. Minimize
consumption of the high glycemic index, "Great White Hazards" - white flour,
white rice, white potatoes, sugar and products containing them. These foods
trigger hormonal changes that promote cellular growth in breast tissue. Replace
these "wrong" carbs with whole grains and beans/legumes. Beans/legumes because
of their high fiber and lignan content are especially special.
3. Get your fats right! The type of fat in your diet can affect your breast
cancer risk. Minimize consumption of omega-6 fats (sunflower, safflower, corn
and cottonseed oils), saturated fats and trans fats. Maximize your intake of
omega-3 fats, especially from oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, lake
trout and herring). Consume monounsaturated oils (canola, olive oil, nuts/seeds,
avocados) as your primary fat source, as these foods have potential anticancer
properties. Specifically, canola oil is a good source of omega-3 fats; extra
virgin olive oil is a potent source of antioxidant polyphenols, including
squalene; and nuts and seeds provide you with the cancer protective mineral,
selenium. Consume yogurt, cheese, milk, butter, and olive oil on a daily basis,
and eat meat from time to time.
Also Read: The risks and myths of breast cancer
Also Read: Cancer Cells Love Sugar!
Also Read: An Encouraging Discovery
Also Read: Skin cancer: There's hope
Also Read: Can Smokers Escape Lung Cancer?
4. Minimize exposure to pharmacologic estrogens and xeno-estrogens. Lifetime
exposure to estrogen plays a fundamental role in the development of breast
cancer. Avoid intake of prescribed estrogen until indicated. Also avoid
estrogen-like compounds found in environmental pollutants, such as pesticides
and industrial chemicals. Buy organic produce if you can afford it; otherwise,
thoroughly wash all non-organic produce. Minimize exposure to residual hormones
found in non-organic dairy products, meat and poultry.
5. Sleep well. Sometimes we find it hard to sleep well. Shift work, street
lights, travel across time zones, the demands and conveniences of life in the
space age - all claim to make life better, more flexible, more diverse. But can
our body's natural rhythms adjust to an almost constant exposure to light,
without some consequences? A Finnish study found that women who consistently
slept 6 hours or less every night had a slightly higher rate of breast cancer
than those who slept 7 to 8 hours; and women who consistently slept 9 hours or
more had the lowest risk. However, a study done at Brigham and Women's Hospital
in Boston found that those women’s death rates in general increase in those
sleeping more than 7 hours a night. The answer may be a mix of factors: time
spent sleeping, and quality of sleep, which can vary with each person. Medical
and psychological conditions can affect sleep quality, as can environment and
6. Learn to handle Stress. Ongoing stress can threaten breast-health, in large
part, because it disrupts the natural daily natural rhythm of circulating
hormones. For instance, one hormone that rises with stress is cortisol, which
has been directly linked to breast cancer. Cortisol has a daily rhythm that
reaches its lowest level during sleep; it climbs to its highest level by late
morning, and then subsides in the afternoon. But when you experience ongoing
stress—especially high-pitched, trauma-based stress—the natural ebb and flow of
circulating cortisol loses its rhythm and instead, remains elevated. In turn,
chronic levels of elevated cortisol weaken the ability of your immune system to
fight disease, including not only breast cancer, but also high blood pressure,
elevated blood glucose (linked with increased risk of weight gain and diabetes),
and osteoarthritis. Young women who experience more than one stressful life
event are at greater risk of developing breast cancer, but a general feeling of
happiness and optimism may help guard against the disease, Israeli researchers
report. Women who had experienced two or more severe or mild-to-moderate life
event were 62 percent more likely to have breast cancer, the researchers found.
However, they also found that women with a "general feeling of happiness and
optimism" had a 25 percent lower risk of having been diagnosed with breast
7. Minimize or avoid alcohol. Alcohol use is the most well established dietary
risk factor for breast cancer. The Harvard Nurses' Health study, along with
several others, has shown consuming more than one alcoholic beverage a day can
increase breast cancer risk by as much as 20-25 percent. Women drinking just
seven units of alcohol a week - half the recommended safe level - have a much
increased chance of developing lobular cancer, compared to those who don't drink
at all, reports express.co.uk. The report suggests that alcohol consumption is
implicated in 2,000 cases of breast cancer in each year as well as causing other
cancer, liver damage and fertility problems in women. With one 250ml glass
containing up to 3.5 units, just one each evening would put a woman well over
her weekly allowance. Official guidelines say women should drink no more than 14
units of alcohol a week.
8. Go easy on fried foods Fried potatoes were found in one study to be
associated with increased risk of ER- breast cancer. Various "meat and potatoes"
dietary patterns have been found to be associated with increased risks of many
cancer types, including breast cancer. However, it is possible that these
heightened risks may be due primarily to red meat and fried potato consumption.
Consuming whole cooked potatoes with the peel are a good dietary source of
vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Compounds with known cancer-fighting
properties found in potatoes include glycoalkaloids such as ?-chaconine and
?-solanine, as well as gallic acid. Potato extracts have been shown to suppress
proliferation and induce apoptosis of human lymphoma, liver, stomach, cervical,
colon, and prostate cancer cells. At the end of the day its the choice of food
you opt for that makes the difference. We would suggest buying red-skinned
organic potatoes and eating them (along with their skins) after steaming or
9. Consume whole food soy products regularly, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame,
roasted soy nuts, soy milk and miso. Only consume organic, non-GMO (genetically
modified) soy. Epidemiologic studies have shown a positive association between
soy consumption and reduced breast cancer risk. High soy intake during
adolescence reduces the risk of breast cancer in the pre-menopausal years by
about 25 to 50 percent, suggests a recent study. Larissa Korde, principal
researcher at the Clinical Genetics Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology and
Genetics, National Cancer Institute, US, in her report found that soy intake
from childhood was significantly associated with reduced breast cancer risk.
10. Take your supplements daily. A multivitamin, 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C in
divided doses, 200-400 IUs of vitamin E as mixed tocopherols, and pharmaceutical
grade fish oil. Also take 200 mcg of the mineral selenium or eat one to two
Brazil nuts as an alternative. If you have a chronic medical condition or take
prescription drugs, consult your physician first. Recently, new study has found
that women who take fish oil supplements may have one-third lower risk of a
breast cancer than those who don’t take these supplements. Women who had a low
DNA repair capacity, a family history of breast cancer, and no history of breast
feeding were all more likely to suffer from breast cancer. When the researchers
adjusted for calcium's effect on DNA repair capacity, they found little
remaining effect on breast cancer risk. This suggests that calcium helps prevent
cancers by boosting DNA's ability to regenerate from damage. The mechanisms by
which vitamin supplements protect the body from cancer were not determined.
The above factors can help women fight breast cancer to some extent, try to
incorporate these in your lifestyle. Women should focus on keeping breast health
through good lifestyle and dietary choices.
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