Natural Prevention for Breast Cancer
While preventing breast cancer is not an absolute, lowering your risks is an ideal way to do the best you can to stay healthy. Eating a healthy diet, consistent activity and movement, adequate sun exposure or optimizing your vitamin D levels, and effectively managing your emotional health are the cornerstones of just about any cancer prevention program, including breast cancer. For example, regular physical activity has been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing breast cancer by as much as 50%, once diagnosed.
The following lifestyle strategies will help you to further lower your breast cancer risk:
- Get Annual Screenings for the most common risks. This would include routine blood work to review iron levels, blood sugar (another high risk is insulin resistance) and an annual Breast Thermogram. Breast thermography is one of the best screenings to evaluate early risk as long as it is done right. While not a replacement for mammography, it provides information that a mammogram cannot and will evaluate early risk that is controllable through holistic medicine.
- Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. This is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from cancer. Vitamin D is able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death). Studies at the State University of New York at Albany, found that when they injected a potent form of vitamin D into human breast cancer cells, 50% of those cells died within days. The conclusion was that vitamin D could work as well at killing cancer cells as the toxic breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, without any of the detrimental side effects and at a tiny fraction of the cost.
- Get your Vitamin D levels checked. It is hard to keep them at optimal levels if you live in the northeast. Additionally, the routine laboratory ranges are too broad according to many sources and while your doctor may tell you your Vit D level is OK, it may not be.
- Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that this vitamin may play a role in preventing breast cancer. It’s always best to obtain it from naturally rich vitamin A foods, rather than a supplement. The best sources are organic egg yolks, raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.
- However, there is also evidence that supplementing vitamin A can negate the benefits of vitamin D. This means that it’s essential to have the proper ratio of vitamin D to vitamin A in your body. The magic of our body is, if the sources of vitamins are in their most natural form, your body will know what to do. So ideally, you want to provide your foundation of vitamin A and vitamin D in such a way that your body understands what it is getting and can regulate both systems naturally. This is best done by eating colorful vegetables (for vitamin A) and by exposing your skin to sun every day (for vitamin D) for approximately 20 minutes.
- Avoid charred meats. Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased breast cancer risk due to Acrylamide—a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted or fried.
- Avoid unfermented soy products. There is so much controversy regarding the use of soy. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. While the studies vary, some seem to show that soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation due to its phytoestrogen effect and can increase cell mutation and push you into a dangerous estrogen dominant condition.
- Improve your insulin receptor sensitivity. Insulin resistance and diabetes is becoming rampant. Not only does it make it difficult to lose weight, it increases the risk of cancers of all types as cancer uptakes sugar as fuel for the cells.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. It’s important to lose excess body fat because fat produces estrogen. Finding a lifestyle that helps you maintain optimal weight is always better than fad diets. Find what works and stick with it.
- Increase your intake of whole foods especially greens. While recommendation by Harvard School of Medicine say that we should have 9-15 servings of vegetables and fruit daily, this is not happening. The average American eats 1-1.5 servings per day. Greens are not only high in phytonutrients that scavenge estrogens but are also powerful antioxidants that can clean up damaged cells.
- Avoid drinking alcohol, or at least limit your alcoholic drinks to one per day.
- Avoid wearing underwire bras. There is a good deal of data that metal underwire bras increase your breast cancer risk.
- Avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible. Our bodies and our cells function first electrically then chemically. The buildup of negative ions can damage cells and increase risk. Try earthing or in Japan it’s called “shinrin roku”, also known as “nature bathing” which is a health practice prescribed by their doctors. Not only is it a natural way to restore health but also balance mood and create positive emotions that protect your health.
Dr. Kenneth Hoffman DACM, L.Ac. CCH is the medical director for Sophia Natural Health Center in Brookfield, CT. He is the host of the local radio show, “The Natural Medicine Connection” on 800 AM WLAD. It is the only show of its kind in Fairfield County focused on an integrative holistic approach to health. He is a busy lecturer on health topics and co-author of the book, “Essential Remedies for Women’s Health,” a compendium of healthy advice and information specifically for women’s issues.
Visit our website at: www.inm.center or call our office at 203-740-9300 for more information.