Recently some dear friends threw me a benefit concert so that I could better afford the herbs, supplements, naturopathic doctors, and healing sessions that neither insurance nor medical assistance covers. I decided that at this concert I would share some of what I’ve been learning about what we each can do to prevent (not diagnose, but prevent) breast cancer.
So here in this blog I’m posting one of the handouts. If it resonates with you, please feel free to share it. Print it, email it, Facebook it, whatever. Let’s just spread the word so that more of our sisters, friends, mothers, and daughters don’t have to face this disease.
STEPS WE CAN TAKE TO HELP PREVENT BREAST CANCER
(Not just early diagnosis, but prevention!)
First, let’s educate ourselves on the risk factors. We all know that if other women in our family have had breast cancer we may be genetically predisposed. But what else constitutes a risk? Once we are aware of risk factors, we can try to minimize those which are in our control. Then our next step is to do whatever is possible to try to prevent the disease from taking hold.
(Hints: 1. Live as “green” as possible – avoiding toxins in your home, office, and natural environment. 2. Clean up your diet by eating lots of organic vegetables and other “plant” foods.) (See below for more details.)
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Setting aside genetic factors, you are at greater risk of contracting breast cancer if:
- You’ve never been pregnant/never given birth, you’ve never breastfed, and/or you began your periods early or you began menopause late, or you took the pill for many years. (This is related to the amount of estrogen in our bodies.)
- You’ve had radiation therapy for a previous cancer, or have lived near a nuclear reactor, or have been exposed to nuclear fallout, or even if you’ve received too many x-rays or mammograms. (Exposure to radiation significantly increases cancer risk. Ingestion of kelp, iodine, or various seaweeds can reduce this risk.)
- You’ve eaten lots of processed meats – like lunchmeat, hot dogs, bacon, and ham. (Sodium nitrate, used to process all these meats, is a known carcinogen. And the FDA/government knew it but bowed under meat industry pressure. But there are foods, such as green tea, which can help process or inhibit nitrosamines.)
- You live in an area exposed to chemicals or toxins. This can include living near a golf course or turf farm or non-organic farm, all of which routinely use lots of herbicides. Many of our neighbors also apply toxic weedkillers to their lawns. Also being exposed to a lot of air pollution, including cigarette smoke, is a risk factor for cancer. (There are supplements which can help detoxify our body.)
- You eat a lot of non-organic meat or dairy. (The meat and dairy industry routinely put hormones into the feed of cattle, pork, poultry to fatten up the livestock faster and this can lead to estrogen-sensitive breast cancer. DIM-plus and cruciferous veggies can help remedy this. But it’s better to either avoid meat and dairy altogether or to find hormone-free sources.)
- You are overweight. (Fat cells store estrogen.)
- You are under-exercised. (Studies show that increasing exercise to even 4 hrs/week reduces breast cancer mortality.)
So if any of these apply to you, please take extra precautions! See tips for preventing cancer (below.)
Breast Cancer PREVENTION
The US National Cancer Institute estimates that 70% of all breast cancer deaths are avoidable through dietary change. Scientific research published in hundreds of biomedical journals worldwide has demonstrated dramatic ways in which dietary choices can affect your risk of breast cancer – by influencing not only genetic expression, but also hormone levels and immune function.” http://www.beatbreastcancerkit.com/main/
“Study after study shows that a healthful diet – eating less fat and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes – can vastly reduce the risk of cancer. In fact, research indicates that if we all ate more of the right foods and less of the wrong ones, the incidence of all cancers would be reduced by at least 30 percent.” “Some scientists think that you could reduce your cancer risk by as much as 40% by eating more vegetables, fruits, and other plant foods that have certain phytochemicals in them.” “Women can help themselves stay healthy by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and by getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.”
You can help prevent or heal breast cancer if:
- You keep your body alkalinized. Disease doesn’t manifest as easily in an alkaline environment. The easiest way to do this is to eat a balanced vegetarian diet. Ideally, 75% of your meals should be vegetables. Some especially alkalinizing foods include:
- Broccoli, Cucumbers, Kale
- Alfalfa grass, Barley grass, Wheatgrass
- Soybeans, Navy beans
- Baking soda
- Beets, Radishes, Green beans, Cabbage, Celery, Spinach
- Garlic, Ginger
- Eat anti-cancer foods. These include:
- Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower
- Dark leafy greens: kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, spinach
- Red and orange vegetables and fruits: carrots, pumpkin, winter squash, red pepper, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, red grapes.
- Flaxseed and other nuts and seeds
- Seaweeds and sea vegetables
- Berries, red grapes, oranges, apples (organic if at all possible)
- Garlic, leeks, onions
- Mushrooms, “exotic” – Shitake, reishi, Murrill, and turkey tail mushrooms
- Papayas, mangoes, figs, apricots
- Green tea
- Lentils and other legumes/beans
- Brown rice, oats, and other whole grains
3. Eat food that mostly comes from plants. Eat much of it raw, if possible.
4. Avoid sugar. Here is one link that explains why: http://beatcancer.org/2014/03/5-reasons-cancer-and-sugar-are-best-friends/
5. Take extra Vitamin D and C and consider taking anti-cancer herbs. These can include:
- Red Clover
- Turmeric and Saffron
- Chlorella and Spirulina
A Partial List of Resources in the Prevention and Healing of Cancer:
- www.CanCure.org (The Cancer Cure Foundation)
- lslw.stanford.edu (Live Strong, Live Well)
- Cancer Fighting Foods, by Vern Verona
- Crazy, Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr
- Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips, by Kris Carr
- A Cancer Therapy, by Max Gerson, M.D.
- The Plant Programme: Recipes for Fighting Breast and Prostate Cancer,by Professor Jane Plant
- The Doctors Book of Food Remedies, by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention
This handout was created by Cindy Greb, author of The Breast Blog (https://thebreastblog.wordpress.com) on February 9, 2012.
You have permission to distribute this freely.
1. The Doctors Book of Food Remedies, by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention, p. 131.
4. Feel free to talk to your doctor first. Studies have shown that women with breast cancer are often deficient in Vitamin D.