The ever growing cancer rates have become acceptable in today’s society; however, we should not accept this simply out of complacency. We need to look at cancer statistics and rethink our entire approach. Only 90 years ago 1 person in 8 was afflicted with cancer, today it is estimated that 40% (or 3.2 people in 8) are going to get cancer during their lifetimes. Over the same period of time, we have spent trillions of dollars in research and medical care but the results are often far from productive. While there is an enormous need to find the cure for cancer, I would like see the focus shift towards prevention. There are simple and effective ways of lowering the risk of cancer, and of breast cancer in particular. Even women with family history or those who have inherited genetic predisposition can significantly reduce the incidence of breast cancer if they follow these simple but effective instructions:
1. Starting from young age pre-adolescent girls:
The increasingly lower age of menarche (onset menstruation) among girls due to improper diet and inadequate levels of exercise and physical activity raises the risk of breast cancer. Proper dietary measures, weight control along with appropriate amounts of physical activity will decrease the risk factors in the future years for these young women.
Young women in their teenage years becoming sexually active should avoid the oral contraceptives. Even the weakest pill contains seven times the amount of estrogen naturally occurring in your body. Research has determined that the single greatest risk factor for future development of breast cancer is lifetime exposure of the breasts to estrogen. It would appear that controlling the influence of estrogen on the breasts would be the single most important method of primary breast cancer prevention.
2. Women of child bearing age:
This age group needs to know that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 59% even if there is a family history, or if one has the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. (1) Further, multiple pregnancies along with breastfeeding provides additional risk reduction.
3. Women in perimenopausal stage (late 30s to menopause):
Women in this stage, along with any other group can certainly benefit from reducing their exposure to carcinogens and environmental factors. However, these are hard to avoid and do not necessarily have a direct causative relationship to cancer but act as catalysts when
combined with an improper diet. Protein as a micronutrient may play a significant role in cancer development. Specifically the type of protein one eats can promote cancer growth. Protein derived from commercial animal sources contributes to cancer while protein from plant sources appears to inhibit this process. Studies have shown that the high intake of casein, which accounts for 87% of commercial dairy protein, promotes cancer development.
(2) Reduce unnecessary exposure to X-ray radiation.
The Journal of Clinical Oncology, July 2006 reported that women who are genetically predisposed to breast cancer with BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, having at least one chest x-ray were 54% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who had never had one. It is not hard to see that a certain segment of the female population becomes more susceptible to cancer by early exposure to regular X-ray screening. Additionally, X-ray radiation is cumulative. The more frequent the exposure, the exponentially higher the risk.
The good news is that breast thermography has become more widely available today. This non-invasive test does not use any radiation but rather measures the surface temperature of the breast providing a physiological assessment. This method can provide women of all ages with a risk assessment of their breast health and can identify areas of concern early in its development. Regular breast thermography examinations can establish a baseline that can be a reference point for monitoring breast health over a long period of time. Any deviation from normal or baseline points to increased risk and can be dealt with to resolve the issue at hand before any serious problems develop. Breast thermography is a wonderful screening method that can warn of a pending problem far in advance.
4. Women in post menopausal stage:
These women need to understand that weight gain increases the incidence of breast cancer. The inverse is also true, a reduction in weight by at least 22 lbs can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 40% and if they have managed to keep the weight off for at least four years the risk is reduced by 60%. (3) Obesity and high levels of insulin in the blood also increase the risk for cancer. My personal preference for cancer protective diet is a plant based diet. The typical Western diet with its incessant emphasis on protein is one of the major causes of cancer and cardiovascular disease - the two leading causes of death in our society.
Over-estrogenic activity has been wreaking havoc for years now and certainly contributes to the rise of incidence in breast cancers. Excess estrogen is a global ecological problem the affects all people today, men women and children alike. However, one needs to understand that some estrogens are cancer protective, while some are cancer permissive – they are not all created equal. Keep your E-2/16 ratio in check (ratio of good to bad estrogen). A simple urine test can provide you with this information. The lower the amount of (bad) estrogen, the slower the potential growth of cancer. The most important advice for preventing cancer is to maintain and enhance your liver's ability to metabolize estrogens from different sources. This can be done through proper nutrition and requires very specific concentrations of nutrients and occasional liver support and detoxification. I have written in my previous articles about the connection of breast cancer and estrogen, for additional information please go to www.drmostovoy.com.
Studies show that three to four hours per week of regular exercise can decrease your risk of Breast Cancer by up to 50%. Lean body mass (muscle) does not generate estrogen like fatty tissue. Any form of exercise will affect the endocrine system by balancing one's hormone levels, increasing the levels of HGH (human growth hormone) naturally while aiding the lymphatic system in detoxification of the body. Physical exercise represents a simple, non-invasive, non- chemical, inexpensive means of cancer prevention.
We have learned and continue to learn more and more about cancer, however to this day the cause of cancer remains a mystery to science and medicine. In spite of raising incidence we should not become complicit and accept the inevitable. It is up to all of us to accept responsibility for our own health and start by practicing preventive healthcare. Simple and effective means of protecting our health are actually much easier and more effective than dealing with the full blown disease. I encourage anyone to take responsibility and start implementing the above mentioned advice now.