Friday, 27 November 2015

Breast Cancer Prevention

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer diagnosed in women in New Zealand and around the world.  In New Zealand, 1 in 9 women have a breast cancer diagnosis.
We have been told that mammograms are your best detection method.  I would argue that mammogram is a passive surveillance method to detect if you have breast cancer.  What are you doing to prevent or reduce your risk of breast cancer?

We need to commit to proactive prevention.  It is very important for us to take a look at our food.  Sugar is a potent toxin.  Sugar increases our blood sugar hence increasing the production of insulin, which is a growth hormone.  The Harvard Medical School conducted a six year study of over 32,000 nurses found that increased levels of insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) contributed to the increased growth of tumours, including breast cancers. 

It is well known that fibre is important to maintain good health.  The excessive intake of antibiotics or increased infection in the gut will weaken the immune system and increase your susceptibility to cancer.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver meridian travels through the breasts and the growth of cancer tumours show stagnation in liver energy.  A poor liver detoxification profile combined with poor dietary intake with increased sugar and processed food will increase the risk of breast cancer.  The presence of bad estrogens is commonly implicated in breast cancer.  It is therefore important to reduce intake of xenoestrogens, which are endocrine disruptors and behave like estrogen in the body.  Xenoestrogens are present in plastics, flame retardants, cosmetics, pesticides and food colouring.

To engage in active surveillance, you should avoid increasing your intake of xenoestrogens:
  1. Do not heat food up in any plastic containers in the microwave, in fact, do not use the microwave.  Heat it up on the stove or the oven. 
  2. Do not refill plastic drinking bottles, leave them in the sun or freeze water in plastic bottles.  Avoid plastic bottles, use stainless steel or glass bottles.
  3. Avoid using plastic wrap when storing or heating food.
  4. Avoid non-stick Teflon cookware.  When overheated, Teflon will leach into the food and disrupt the estrogen balance in the body.
  5. Avoid pesticides.  Eat organic where possible.
  6. Consume hormone free meats.
  7. Choose cosmetics and skin care products that are as natural as possible without names too long to pronounce and numbers you cannot decipher.  A common estrogenic ingredient found in cosmetics is paraben.
Increasing physical activity, increase intake of detoxifying foods and antioxidants with adequate protein can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.  Cruciferous vegetables, tumeric, rosemary and garlic are great to help detoxify estrogen.  Tumeric is synergistically absorbed with black pepper, so if you are marinating your food with tumeric, add some black pepper too!  If you are overweight, your risk of breast cancer increases.  Lose excess weight.  Being overweight by 7kgs increases your cancer risk as much as smoking!

Get enough Vitamin D, in the summer, do activities in the sun without sunscreen before 11 a.m. until the skin turns pink.  Do not burn.  In the winter, supplement!  Vitamin D acts as a vitamin and a hormone and is a very important vitamin for healthy breasts.

Reducing intake of alcohol to less than 3 glasses a week will help reduce the risk of breast cancer.  Keeping the bowels regular with adequate fibre, prebiotics, probiotics and greens is important to prevent breast cancer.  Your liver and bowels are really important to help reduce your risk of breast cancer, hence keeping liver toxins low and keeping your bowels healthy will help prevent breast cancer.  

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