You’ve probably been seeing a lot more pink this month. Pink ribbons, pink pins, pink hats, and pink shirts are proudly being worn by women and even men as a symbol of support for breast cancer awareness. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
October is a month for women to become more aware of their risk of breast cancer and to make an appointment with their doctor for a breast check-up. With any type of cancer, early detection is key for treatment and survival rate.
But what’s even more important than early detection is – breast cancer prevention.
A new study shows nearly half of all cancers are attributed to lifestyle factors which can be prevented. Don’t let your family history of breast cancer or inherited genes define you as a future breast cancer patient.
So whether you’ve previously had breast cancer, fighting breast cancer, or want to prevent breast cancer there are simple life habits you have the power to change.
Do become more aware of breast cancer this month. And do follow these tips to avoid breast cancer for you and your loved ones.
Estrogen, Insulin, & Your Gut’s Role in Breast Cancer
Your breasts contain hormone-sensitive tissue, which is greatly affected by certain hormones. These hormones have the potential to ignite the growth of cancer cells in the breast, especially if your risk for breast cancer is high.
Let’s see how your gut and the following hormones can act as initiators of breast cancer in your cells:
- Estrogen – Estrogen is essential in your body – but too much of this hormone and it becomes carcinogenic to your breast. Estrogen induces proliferation of neoplastic tissue through receptor-mediated hormonal activity. An increase in estrogen promotes increasing mutation rates through metabolic activity. And too much estrogen induces an increase in chromosomes in cells, which promote breast cancer growth.
- Insulin – Having high amounts of sugar in your body can eventually lead to insulin resistance – increased insulin. Insulin is a cellular growth factor, and this has an effect on the growth and development of neoplasms in your breast tissue. Insulin resistance can lead to increased fat cells in your body and obesity, which also plays a role in breast cancer proliferation.
- Gut Health – Your gut is made up of microscopic bacteria, which play a role in regulating hormones such as insulin and estrogen in your body. Your gut bacteria have been shown to help prevent insulin resistance, obesity, and excess estrogen. These factors all play their part in the prevention of breast cancer.
6 Natural Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer
You don’t have to let your genes rule your world. If you are at a high risk for breast cancer or even a slight risk for breast cancer – the environment you surround yourself with can help you lower your risk and prevent breast cancer. Follow these tips to avoid breast cancer:
1. Eat Breast Cancer-Preventing Foods
Who doesn’t want to eat their way to better health?
Cruciferous vegetables specifically raw broccoli, raw cauliflower, and cooked cabbage for premenopausal women. These vegetables contain potent cancer-preventing compounds called isothiocyanates. These breast cancer preventing foods have antiproliferative activity against breast cancer cells. And can also balance estrogen metabolism in premenopausal women.
Regardless of what type of cruciferous vegetable or if you’re premenopausal or post-menopause one study showed with eating just one serving of cruciferous vegetable a day you can reduce your risk of breast cancer by 50%.
With berries phytonutrient and antioxidant compounds, they’ve been shown to prevent breast cancer by inducing breast cancer cell death. Blueberries and black raspberries are most important in fighting against estrogen-induced breast cancer.
2. Stay Active – Maintain a Healthy Weight
For women, this is the kicker for preventing breast cancer because fat cells make estrogen. An overwhelming amount of evidence links obesity to an increased risk of breast cancer. These fat cells not only elevate estrogen in the body, but promote inflammation, increase insulin levels, and elevate aromatase levels.
The American Cancer Society recommends 30-60 minutes of fun physical activity for 5 days of the week for breast cancer prevention.
3. Avoid Toxins – This Means Alcohol Too (To a Certain Degree)
Environmental toxins are a burden on your health – especially in developing breast cancer. Toxins such as BPA, pesticides, phthalates, and parabens have estrogen-mimicking behaviors which are harmful to your breast tissue. Endocrine disruptors called xenoestrogens throw your hormones out of whack. Studies show they induce neoplastic transformation in the epithelial cells of your breasts, which then leads to breast cancer.
Alcohol is, unfortunately, a toxin as well. But to say you need to completely avoid it is unrealistic for most people. Alcohol is most sensitive to breast tissue before your first pregnancy. So women in their 20-30s with a higher risk of breast cancer should be aware of this fact and limit their alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day.
4. Balance Your Hormones
Balancing your hormones such as insulin and estrogen levels is important in protecting yourself against breast cancer. These hormones promote inflammation, induce weight gain, and tumor growth.
Balance your insulin levels by:
- Limiting processed foods
- Including enough protein in your meals
- Consuming more healthy fats
- Staying far away from refined carbohydrates and refined sugar.
- Exercising and getting enough sleep
Balance your estrogen levels by:
- Eat more flaxseeds, fish oil, fiber, and cruciferous vegetables.
- Choosing organic meats and produce
- Limiting processed foods and soy
- Avoiding xenoestrogen toxins in products
- Exercising and getting enough sleep
Reducing insulin and estrogen levels can have a big impact on breast cancer prevention.
5. Take Care of Your Gut
This tip to avoid breast cancer may seem out of place. But your gut is where most diseases begin and end. And the 100 trillion microorganisms inhabiting your intestinal barrier surprisingly are on your team in helping protect you against breast cancer.
Your gut bacteria help reduce toxins, inflammation, and insulin in your body which all induce breast cancer growth. And a specific group of gut bacteria called your estrobolome actually help reduce excess estrogen in your body. The health of the microbes in your gut has been directly linked to breast cancer.
So taking care of your gut by eating healthy and taking probiotics may help you prevent breast cancer naturally.
6. Get Your Beauty Sleep & Reduce Stress
Poor sleep or not enough sleep decreases your melatonin levels. Melatonin is vital for lowering estrogen levels – not getting enough of this sleepy hormone may lead to excess estrogen. Sleep disorders have also been shown to lead to insulin resistance and obesity, which increase your risk of breast cancer.
Sleepless nights, as well as stress levels, have been shown to increase cortisol hormones in your body. Cortisol results in an activation of many cancers including breast cancer – leading to tumor growth and progression.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Although the rate of breast cancer statistics is high – this doesn’t mean you have to wait for your fate. There are ways to prevent breast cancer naturally. This should give you empowerment this month of October to change just a couple of lifestyle habits to help you prevent breast cancer. By taking this one step in breast cancer prevention it can possibly change your future.
Request an appointment today with Dr. Lyn Berutti to have a thorough hormone test to see if you’re at risk for breast cancer and get guidance on obtaining optimal gut health.