Lowering Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Lowering your risk of breast cancer begins with lifestyle changes and includes monthly self-breast exams and knowing what to look for. Let’s dive into what we can to proactively to lower our risk of breast cancer.
If you haven’t checked out our previous article in this series; Cancers affecting Women, make sure you hop on over and read up on the various cancers that affect women.
Breast Cancer Signs
Women are aware that checking their breasts for lumps is one of the ways they can detect early signs of breast cancer and lower your risk of breast cancer. Early detection is paramount when fighting any type of cancer, so knowing what to look for is vitally important.
Most women know that finding a lump in their breast can be a sign something is not quite right. However, a lump doesn’t necessarily mean it’s breast cancer. A lump is not the only symptom, there are also many other signs of breast cancer that can manifest.
Here are some of the telltale signs to look for and if you notice any of them, please make sure you see your health care provider immediately.
Most Common Signs of Breast Cancer
• Lumps in the breast – The most commonly recognized sign of breast cancer is detecting a lump in the breast from self-examination or during a doctor’s examination. Lumps may occur because of a blockage in the milk ducts of the breast. This causes a distinct lump.
• Blood discharge from the nipple – Blood from the nipple may be caused from non-cancerous growths in the breast’s ducts. These ducts become inflamed and a discharge occurs. If a lump or mass is found at the same time of the discharge it may be a sign of breast cancer.
• Visible changes – Swelling of the breast or other visible changes may signal breast cancer. The skin of the breast’s nipples may be altered with the onset of breast cancer and tumors may cause changes in the size of the breast and the appearance of the skin.
• Dimpled skin of the breasts – Redness and/or dimpled skin around the breast area is a reason to have your breasts checked. It could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, manifesting itself by aching, tightness and burning in the breast tissue.
• Flaking of nipple skin – Flaking or itchy nipples may be caused by irritation from laundry detergent or irritation from clothing. If the symptoms last longer than a few days or become worse, it could be a sign of inflammatory breast disease or cancer.
Basically, any changes you notice in the breast area should be presented to your health care provider for further diagnosis. Although breast cancer is a rarity in men, it can occur and the symptoms are the same.
Treatment for breast cancer depends on which stage it’s in when diagnosed. Radiation, surgery and chemotherapy are all methods for eradicating the cancer in the breast. If it’s spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body, more aggressive forms of treatment or a combination of treatments may be necessary.
Excellent reading – ‘Know Your Lemons’
One of the best articles to date about breast cancer was posted by “The Worldwide Breast Cancer Organization” and is titled, “Know Your Lemons.” It’s a clever article that explains in a visual and simple way, how to recognize 12 signs of breast cancer. The image shows what the different signs of breast cancer might look like on and inside lemons.
The article even presents a checklist that simply explains your risk for breast cancer after you’ve answered a series of questions.
See the entire article at www.worldwidebreastcancer.org. It will help you get a better understanding of knowing what the breast cancer signs are to look for.
Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Statistics for women at risk of developing breast cancer are staggering. The facts are that approximately one in eight American women are at risk for developing breast cancer during their lifetime. This is partly due to its insidious nature – it often develops slowly but surely, with little or no obvious or specific symptoms. By the time it is diagnosed it is often very hard to treat effectively or safely. If there is good news, it’s knowing that breast cancer is treatable – especially if discovered early on. Let’s explore ways in which we can lower our risk of breast cancer.
Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Some of the ways you can reduce your risk of contracting breast cancer include:
- Maintain A Healthy Weight – Keep your body at a normal weight by eating a nutritious diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Don’t allow yourself to become overweight or obese.
- Stop Smoking – Smoking adversely affects every organ in the body so it’s simply common sense to stop smoking immediately if you are a smoker. If you are a non-smoker, move away from other people’s smoke too! Don’t inhale any smoke at all.
- Limit Your Alcohol Consumption – Women should limit intake of alcohol to only 3 glasses a week to lower their risk of breast cancer. Excess alcohol isn’t good for many health reasons.
- Screening – Regular screening for signs of early breast cancer can increase your odds of beating the disease.
- Be Proactive – Is there a family history of breast cancer? If you are not sure, research your family’s history for incidents of breast cancer – including your father’s family. Being informed is half the battle.
Keeping fit and healthy help lower a woman’s risk of cancer. Simple lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise can greatly decrease the odds of developing breast cancer. Screening and finding these cancer early on can also drastically improve your chances of recovery
There is an increasing awareness that cancer is not a disease you catch, as much as a condition which develops.
Cancer and Diet – Foods to Help Prevent Breast Cancer
Diet plays an important part in the quest to prevent cancer. The AICR (American Institute for Cancer Research) recommends choosing mostly from plant foods such as whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables and to stop intake of sugary drinks.
Reduce Your Intake of Salty, Processed Foods
The risk of developing cancer in your lifetime can be greatly lowered by eating less salty, preserved foods and increasing foods high in fiber such as vegetables and fruits.
Also avoid salt-preserved foods such as fish, cured meats and some pickled vegetables.
Processed meats, such as sausages, bacon and ham, contain ingredients that can put you more at risk than eating fresh red meats. White meats such as chicken and fish aren’t linked to any type of cancer and may also help keep your weight at a normal level because of their lack of saturated fat.
Certain chemicals such as nitrites and nitrates used in preserving processed meat can be transformed into cancerous chemicals (N-nitroso compounds) and cooking meats at very high temperatures while grilling can also produce cancerous chemicals (heterocyclic amines and polycyclic amines).
Eat Plenty of Fruits, Vegetables and High-Fiber Foods
Try to include these types of foods in your diet plan – lentils, vegetables, beans, fresh or dried fruits, apples, rice and bananas. Also, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Water also helps flush harmful toxins from the body.
Accumulated toxins resulting from a poor diet put the body in state of dis-ease, increasing susceptibility to cancer triggers such as free radicals. Antioxidants help reduce the risk of cancer by helping to neutralize free radicals which can damage and reduce production of cells.
Fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of antioxidants include dark green, orange, red and purple fruits and veggies such as carrots, tomatoes, spinach and kale.
Points to Ponder
- Cancer is a disease that is still being avidly researched. Much has been accomplished, but more needs to be done in finding out what can prevent – or cause – cancer, and that includes the foods we eat.
- While many factors may have a genetic (predisposed) component, many are greatly influenced by lifestyle choices and behaviors. Diet is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer, but other factors are also relevant.
- After smoking, obesity is one of the leading causes of cancer, so a well-balanced diet is critical in reducing your cancer risk. Developing healthy lifestyle habits can also lower your risk including the cessation of smoking, losing excess weight and exercise.
- The most common type of cancer in women, breast cancer risk may be reduced by dairy products. Some dairy products may even protect women from breast cancer.
- Breast Cancer, the most common type of cancer in women may be reduced by some dairy products. Some dairy products may even protect women from breast cancer. Although there are no official recommendations on dairy consumption, some medical experts recommend that you limit your intake of dairy products to two glasses of mil or two servings of other dairy products per day.
Does Cancer Feed on Sugary Foods?
Cancer has a sweet tooth and sugar is its best friend for development and growth. Preventing cancer has a lot to do with how you live your life and which diet you choose. Diets high in white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour and other carbohydrate-rich foods are highly dangerous if you are motivated to prevent cancer.
Sugar is the main diet for cancer-type tumors and cells and helps them grow and expand. Your body’s healthy cells feed on sugar too, but sugar feeds cancer cells at a rate of 10 to 12 times that of healthy cells. In fact, sugar water is used to detect the presence of the cancer cells on a sugar frenzy during a PET scan.
Cancer cells also flourish in a highly acidic environment and sugar has a pH that’s 10 times more acidic than the perfect blood pH of 7.4.
Your immune system is also affected by the presence of sugar in the system. Sugar lowers phagocytosis, a vital immune system response necessary to maintain a healthy immune system. Since sugar is in so many things we consume, it adds up to a severe suppression of your immune system’s function throughout the day.
What About Sugar Substitutes?
Sugar substitutes can negatively affect your body almost as much as sugar itself. Many sweeteners contain ingredients such as saccharin, aspartame and sucralose which contribute to such cancers as leukemia and bladder cancer.
Stevia is considered one of the good sugar substitutes and is a natural herb derived from South America. When looking for sweeteners, honey is a far better option for your health than refined sugar.
Sugar – A Vicious Circle
Obesity is another result of consuming too much sugar – and obesity is a scientifically-proven cause of cancer. Excess body fat can negatively affect the esophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, rectum and breast and sugar feeds the developing cells.
When you consume sugar, the pancreas releases insulin into the body. The breast is one of the parts of the body which contains insulin receptors and reacts negatively to the high levels of insulin being released by promoting cell growth. Too much sugar has been proven to more than double the risk of developing cancer of the breast. Added sugar in all its forms is highly unnatural to the human diet. Our cave-man ancestors had access to sweeteners very rarely, and our biology has not evolved to deal with the daily inclusion of sugar, especially in the quantities we subject our bodies to.
Since sugar is in most everything we eat, it’s best to learn the hidden sugars in such items as salad dressings, canned foods and most processed foods so you can cut down whenever possible. Sometimes you can be fooled by the label on foods that don’t list sugar as an ingredient. Look for hidden sugars such as fructose, maltose, glucose and lactose which are simply disguised forms of sugar.
A naturally balanced diet plan which contains as little added sugar as possible is best to keep cancer at bay and also to prevent other lifestyle diseases effectively
My gift to all women. In our fight to be proactive and stay healthy, I have provided a graphic to print out, laminate and post where you will see and use it monthly. We CAN do this!
(Right click, copy and paste. Print out and laminate.)
Screening for signs of breast cancer is better than ever and progress in this area of women’s health is moving forward at a rapid rate. Be sure and be proactive monthly with your self-breast exam. Teach your daughters how to do this and what to look for too. Also, be sure and ask your physician about proper screening for you as procedures vary from woman to woman according to their risk profile.
*This post dedicated to a wonderful woman with a beautiful spirit that I had the privilege to know, love and work along side of for a brief period of time. She taught me so much and I loved her dearly*
Live Simply and Healthy,
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