5 Ways to lower your breast cancer risk right NOW
Breast cancer has touched almost every woman I know. Many have dealt with it themselves, others have mothers, sisters, daughters or friends who have fought this dreaded illness.
In my case, my mother-in-law is a cancer survivor. According to the American Cancer Society; about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2013. Around 39,620 will die from breast cancer. These are scary statistics for any woman to hear.
Don't worry, there are ways to lower your breast cancer risk! Here are five proven things you can do to prevent breast cancer in your future:
Exercise: You knew I'd mention that one first. If you're a consistent reader than you know the reason I feel so strongly about exercise is not for the sake of physical attractiveness. That's merely a side benefit. I encourage exercise as a way to improve your health and lifestyle. A study by the Women's Health Initiative showed that 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours a week of brisk walking could reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer by 18%. The risk was reduced even more with ten or more hours of brisk walking. Another reason exercise is important is it will keep your weight under control and being over-weight increases your risk of breast cancer.
Sleep: Don't forget to get your eight hours of sleep every night. When you're sleep deprived you'll feel more stressed and you'll be too tired to exercise. But the amount of sleep is not the only factor. Women who work nights have an almost 50% higher risk of breast cancer. Studies show that going to bed by 10:00 p.m. and rising by 6:00 a.m. provides your body with the highest level of melatonin production. Melatonin suppresses the BRCA1 gene and regulate estrogen levels. It also improves your immunity. So it's important to not only provide your body with enough sleep but to do so at the right time!
Stress: Stress can bring on a multitude of health problems. I work with women who are extremely disciplined about eliminating toxic foods from their diet – but yet hold on to toxic relationships. If you're in a relationship that causes you consistent stress you need to seriously consider its effect on your health. If you must live with stress, then learn how to control your response. Take a Yoga class or learn to meditate.
Nutrition: Eating a healthy diet lowers your risk of many health problems. Feeding your body the proper nutrition helps it function properly. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide your body with a host of antioxidants that can help fight cancer in many forms. Two foods that are especially beneficial are flax seeds and button mushrooms. They inhibit the form of estrogen growth that can produce cancer.
Reduce or eliminate processed foods from your diet. These foods hold a host of toxins and chemicals that should have never been allowed in the human diet. Eat REAL food and try to eliminate caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet.
Prevention: The last tip is to practice prevention. An early diagnosis is the best way to fight breast cancer. This is especially important as you age, if you have a family history of breast cancer, if you are over-weight, or if you smoke, but really, every woman should follow these preventive steps.
Check yourself for any lumps or changes in the tissue of your breast. If you feel a lump, even if it's small, visit your doctor as soon as possible. Make this self-examination part of your daily shower routine. Don't skip your annual check-up at your doctor. Schedule your mammograms on a timely basis. If your doctor doesn't mention it – then remind him.
And obviously, if you're still smoking – stop!
Breast cancer is a scary thought for any woman. But by living a healthy lifestyle you can reduce your risk.