A part of growing up means having big talks about what it means to be an adult. For girls, that includes talks of the birds and the bees, visits from Aunt Flo and regular screenings for breast cancer.
Women of all ages know it’s important to get screened and the weight that diagnosis brings, but how many sources discuss breast cancer prevention? Researchers continue to work diligently at discovering how breast cancer first develops, but you can take preventive measures now to steer your course away from the disease.
If breast cancer runs in your family, it may feel inevitable that you will get it, too, but lifestyle factors strongly influence your chances. Many of the steps are simple to integrate into your daily routine.
Calm Your Tits
You read that right. Calm your tits — meaning your mind, body and soul — to redirect your energy away from toxicity and destress. It’s not just in your head. Your body reacts to stress, too.
If you’re constantly in fight-or-flight mode, your immune system suffers, and stress disrupts the cells that conduct search-and-destroy missions on new diseased cells. Stress affects your risk of getting breast cancer just as it would affect your heart health.
Cut out what doesn’t add to a fulfilling life. Reduce your workload. Schedule a personal day off. Develop coping mechanisms that work for you, such as journaling or taking a walk in nature. Revisit old hobbies that felt rewarding, and try new ones. Build a routine that creates real work-life balance.
Get Active and Lose Weight
Losing weight is a typical New Year’s resolution that often falls by the wayside. Getting active at any time of the year makes you feel good about yourself and reduces your risk of breast cancer diagnosis.
Increased breast cancer risk links to high BMI, especially for those with a large amount of abdominal fat. This type of fat is associated with lipotoxicity — meaning metabolic products go right into portal circulation. The blood carries this toxicity to the liver and beyond, and that metabolically active fat contains different growth factors, such as estrogen, that influence the development of breast cancer.
Start with an evening walk twice a week, and build up your routine from there.
The detox lifestyle continues to trend, but women do it for more than bikini season. Women want to lead a healthier lifestyle and consume only what makes them stronger and live longer.
Detoxing is about more than fruit and veggie smoothies, though supping on that deliciousness doesn’t hurt. Detoxing means nixing the toxins in your life, starting with bad habits.
Alcohol consumption and smoking are risk factors for breast cancer, and they contribute to predictive risk for contralateral breast cancer. These are modifiable behaviors. If both are a part of your life, these behaviors greatly impact your risk factor even more. Talk to your doctor about setting goals to reduce and eliminate your consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Start with small, achievable goals.
Research Calcium Supplements
Many women take calcium supplements to make sure they have strong bone health when older. Guidelines for health care and prevention shift as research develops, so check with your doctor. Never take too much and check for interactions.
Calcium’s role in the prevention of cancer keeps shifting. Unfortunately, the role of calcium metabolism on biomarker levels remains unclear. Research has shown a 19 percent decline in breast cancer risk in those in the highest quantile of dietary calcium intake when compared to the lowest set. In meta-analysis, researchers found that serum calcium corresponded with a lower risk. While these studies offer promising data, more research is needed.
Taking healthy measures to eat whole foods, eliminate stress and cut out toxins enriches your life, while reducing your risks for many chronic diseases. Roughly 266,120 estimated diagnoses of breast cancer will be made in 2018, and 40,920 of those diagnosed won’t make it.
Even if breast cancer doesn’t run in your family, that doesn’t mean your chance of getting diagnosed is zero. Think of eight female friends. One of you is that “yes” statistic. Make an appointment to see your doctor for your regular screening, and develop plans to lead a healthier and happier life. You deserve the best.