Angelina Jolie, in her opinion column in The New York Times , revealed that she had undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy. Jolie carries the BRCA1 gene, which substantially increases a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Clearly, a double mastectomy is not for everyone, so how can the rest of us prevent breast cancer ?

Although it is always a complex decision from a medical and emotional point of view, you have passed your motherhood and breastfeeding years, and the quality of life that provides the peace of mind that you will probably be there for your children is an argument winner for many women about the fact of maintaining your breasts.

Clearly, a double mastectomy is not indicated for everyone who has breasts: it is a major surgery with associated risks and most of us will never develop breast cancer and we do not carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes that increase the risk of breast cancer .

11 Steps to Prevent Breast Cancer Every Woman Should Take

However, the following 11-step breast cancer prevention action plan promotes overall health and reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer. These practices are your daily health affirmation so that breast cancer prevention is just a natural part of a healthy lifestyle.

1. Eat only high-quality natural foods

High-quality natural foods including olive oil and dark leafy greens every day. Processed, fast food, and nutrient-deficient diets have been associated with breast cancer rates. Is there a correlation? Probably. Is there any harm in eating a healthy diet? No. And we do know that diets rich in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and good quality fats, especially olive oil, can help reduce damage to your genes and protect against breast cancer.

A number of large studies have looked at the role of fats in the diet. Although a study by the Nurses’ Health Study did not show an increased risk of breast cancer in women who consumed animal fat, polyunsaturated fat, or saturated fat, it did not even suggest an increased risk of breast cancer from high intake of breast oil. fish in the diet, many other large studies have shown a protective effect against breast cancer of olive oil and fish oil .

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (1995) demonstrated a 25% lower risk of breast cancer in Greek women who consumed olive oil regularly. Two other European studies also suggested a protective effect of olive oil. One of these studies also showed an increased risk of breast cancer in women who consumed saturated fat.

A three-year survey of 61,471 Swedish women reported a 45% reduction in breast cancer risk among women who regularly use olive oil. Two tablespoons of olive oil a day is recommended.

2. Don’t drink alcohol, or at least drink less

While a few glasses of red wine a week may have cardiovascular protective measures, we know that more than seven glasses of alcohol a week modestly increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, and the latest research suggests that even a few glasses can do it. Therefore, women are encouraged to avoid alcohol, except on rare occasions, certainly not consuming more than two four-ounce glasses of wine per week. Studies are clear: the more you drink, the higher your risk of breast cancer, with two drinks per day increasing your risk by up to 70%.

3. Avoid postmenopausal hormones

If you want to prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease and osteoporosis, avoid postmenopausal hormones. Both estrogen hormones and hormones with estrogen plus progestin increase the risk of breast cancer. If you take postmenopausal hormones, take it for the shortest time possible. Talk to your doctor about this.

4. Take supplements to prevent breast cancer

We do our best to eat right, but specific vitamins and minerals, taken in amounts beyond what we get in our food, can have an additional protective role against breast cancer , primarily by supporting our body’s natural ability to detoxify and prevent damage to our genes. Supplements that can help prevent breast cancer include:

  • Selenium
  • Vitamin D
  • C vitamin
  • Vitamin A (retina and carotenes)
  • Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is in that family of Brassicacae vegetables and is available in supplement form as DIM (diindolylmethane)
  • Active folate

5. Avoid harmful environmental exposures

The data is unequivocal and it keeps coming in: many of the more than 100,000 environmental chemicals that have been introduced into our ecosystems cause cancer, and our breast tissue is especially at risk because many toxins affect it preferentially. Even low exposure to BPA, for example, a common chemical in plastics, can increase our risk of breast cancer because it has a biological activity that mimics estrogen.

We must reduce the risk of toxic exposure as much as possible. This can be overwhelming, but our health depends on it. Since we vertically transmit chemicals to our children during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so does the health of later generations.

6. Maintain a healthy balance of blood sugar and a healthy weight

Aside from sugar causing many other health problems, eating it causes insulin spikes. Insulin leads to the storage of body fat, and body fat is one of the sites of estrogen production in the body. Excess estrogen is a problem for women predisposed to estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers.

7. Nurture your natural detoxification systems

By “detoxification,” I mean the body’s natural mechanisms for breaking down and eliminating a whole range of chemicals that come from our food, our hormones, our metabolic processes, and environmental exposures. Our bodies are beautifully designed to ensure that we break down, package, and remove chemicals and chemical by-products that can cause harm if they remain in our bodies.

Most of our detoxification occurs in our liver, although there are several sites where these processes can occur. Toxins in our food and environment can overload our intrinsic detoxification systems and damage our cells. High-quality protein amino acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants like vitamin C and E help break down these chemicals, while the fiber in vegetables and flaxseeds help bind and excrete them properly through our feces.

In addition, healthy intestinal flora is essential for proper detoxification and estrogen excretion from the intestines, so add a probiotic to your daily routine.

8. Less stress, sleep better

Stress and lack of sleep lead to weight gain, dysregulation of blood sugar, and increased estrogen production. Lack of sleep and stress impair immune function and detoxification, and can prevent us from developing vitality-promoting lifestyle habits. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep most nights and practice yoga, meditation, or relaxation in your life. It can make a huge difference in your health and outlook.

9. Exercise for breast cancer prevention

Exercise helps keep insulin and blood sugar levels under control, reduces weight, eliminates stress hormones, and improves sleep. So basically it improves almost every facet of your 11-step breast cancer prevention plan.

10. Avoid birth control pills

Contraceptives have their benefits, but also their risks, but the younger a woman is, the lower the risks. Women who take birth control have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. But this risk disappears quickly when the pills are stopped. If you are very concerned about breast cancer, avoid taking birth control as it is an option that lowers your risk.

11. Breastfeed

Perhaps this recommendation may not be related to you: it may be long before or long after your childbearing age, but it is for any of you who can get pregnant, are pregnant and / or are deciding whether or not to breastfeed, or if you are close to being grandmother and you want to share this news with your daughters.

Several studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer, although other studies have shown mixed results. Importantly, one large study found a reduction of up to 59% in the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women who had breastfed for an extended period of time, even though these women all had a first-degree relative (mother, sister) with breast cancer.

This rate compares favorably with hormonal treatments such as tamoxifen given as a preventive measure to women at high risk for breast cancer.

Other Important Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

There are important risk factors for breast cancer that women cannot control. Knowing which ones apply to you may help you understand your risk and do what is necessary to reduce it. If you think you are at high risk, talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional.

Other risk factors for breast cancer in a woman:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Older age, especially 60 years or older
  • First menstrual period (menarche) before age 12
  • First delivery after 35 years
  • Menopause at the age of 55 or older
  • Not having children
  • Dense breasts
  • History of benign breast disease (such as atypical hyperplasia
  • Tall stature (1.76 meters and more).

Final notes

Breast cancer is incredibly scary to consider. All the above recommendations can also be part of a lifestyle to avoid recurrence. While we cannot completely control what happens to us, we can take substantial control of our health through our diet and lifestyle. This is a powerful concept to take seriously.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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