October is my favorite month of the year. I love the weather, the leaf colors, pumpkins, and the many activities that I get to do with my daughter. October is also important to me because it is the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the U.S. and internationally. As a two-year breast cancer survivor, this means a lot to me and I want to spread the word on prevention against this terrible disease.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer. One in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. Even though breast cancer has a high survival rate, the thought of being diagnosed is heartbreaking. I found the lump myself and I had no history of cancer in my family. Not only is it important to do monthly self checkups for early detection, but it is also important to practice proper nutrition and to maintain a clean lifestyle that reduces your exposure to various toxins. Here is a list that I compiled from my research.
Studies have shown that if you consume more than 1 alcoholic drink a day, it increases your risk of breast cancer from 20%-25%. If you choose to drink alcohol — including beer, wine or liquor — limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.
Being physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. It is also important to do strength training exercises at least twice a week.
Breast-feeding may also play a role in breast cancer prevention. Studies show if you breast feed your child for a year or longer it greatly reduces your risk.
Discontinue hormone therapy
Long-term combination hormone therapy increases the risk of breast cancer.
Pesticides, Herbicides, and Bug Poisons
It can reduce levels of essential hormones regulating growth, metabolism and neurological development in children, as well as affecting hormones involved in aging for adults. As pesticides reduce levels of these hormones in the blood, consequences can be seen from mild to catastrophic for the organism. These chemicals are found in the food that we eat. These toxins can lead to different cancers in the body. Next week I will be discussing why it is so important to eat organic produce.
BPA-Water Bottles, Canned Food, Plastics, and yes even Paper Receipts
I cringe every time I see someone placing plastic in the microwave. The reason for that is when plastic is heated it releases a toxin called Bisphenol A or better known as BPA. BPA is a weak endocrine disruptor, which can mimic estrogen and may lead to negative health effects which includes cancer. After learning about this when I was diagnosed my husband and I cleaned house. We threw away any plastic that we use for cooking or warming our foods. I also make sure the cans I use are BPA free. I drink out of a metal water bottle (I highly don’t recommend drinking out of a plastic bottle especially if it sat in a heated car). Paper receipts contain high levels of BPA and have been banned in Europe. On the positive note I am excited to share that the United States recently banned BPA baby bottles!
Aluminum is the main ingredient in deodorant. Its main job is to form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Some research suggests that aluminum, which is applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like effects. Its been shown women with breast cancer have high levels of aluminum in their tissue.
House and Personal Care Products
Our bodies are large absorbent tissues so it is very important to think twice when using cleaning or personal care products. Many products contain parabasis that are known as endocrine disruptors. They mimic hormones in the body and have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.
When meat is cooked at high temperatures until well–done, a group of chemicals — heterocyclic amines (HCAs) — forms. The longer and hotter the cooking, the more HCAs form, especially in the blackened parts of the meat. If you enjoy grilled food make sure that you do not eat the burned parts.
Conventional sunscreen usually contains titanium oxide, which releases dioxide. Dioxide is a carnocegenic found in sunscreen that causes breast cancer risk. Many sunscreens also contain parabans that disrupt normal hormone balance.
After battling and surviving breast cancer I realized that in life nothing is important unless your family and you are healthy! We have so much more knowledge than ever before to keep our bodies healthy so lets take time to put this knowledge to good use!