In New Zealand, 600 women die of breast cancer every year. On a daily basis, 9 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Whilst you may have heard of lots of news in the media regarding breast cancer being related to your genes, there are lots of things you can do to work on breast cancer prevention and for that matter cancer prevention. Don’t be disempowered!
Here are some contributing factors that increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer and what you can do to mitigate those factors:
- Age – Due to increased estrogen levels relative to progesterone and increased cumulative estrogen, a woman’s breast cancer risk increases with age. Hence decreasing estrogen levels by clearing the pathways for estrogen metabolism and using skincare and bodycare products that do not unnecessary chemicals will decrease the xenoestrogen burden. The other supply of xenoestrogen is plastics!
- Fat cells make estrogen – especially postmenopausally. If you are overweight, losing weight will decrease your breast cancer risk and if you have had breast cancer, decreases the risk of recurrence!
- Lack of physical activity – exercise improves insulin sensitivity, and decreases body fats. Get physically active 5 days a week for 30-40 minutes.
- Consumption of processed carbohydrates – spikes on blood sugar levels from carbohydrates feeds cancer cells. Limit refined sugar and carbohydrates and eat a rainbow of vegetables with some protein. Phytonutrients from plants have cancer fighting properties. Cut that alcohol out - it converts to sugar!
- Stress- this is a driver of many diseases, not just breast cancer. Stress weakens your immune and digestive system. Given the importance of the gut microbiota in maintaining a healthy immune system, you need to manage stress through learning to say ‘no’, allocating some ‘me time’, doing enough relaxation or activities that you enjoy, allocating time to eat – it is so important to be able to digest and absorb your food rather than eat on the run and have compromised absorption and making sure you have enough fibre, colours and macro and micronutrients in your meal.
Get out and get some sunshine and vitamin D - if your vitamin D is low, you are at higher risk of breast cancer.