Following my last article on cancer preventative measures I thought I'd give you more suggestions on how to reduce and possibly even erase your risk for breast cancer.
Many of these recommendations you've probably heard before, but they bear repeating because they are so important in maintaining not only healthy breasts, but general good health. Plus, recent studies confirm with more certainty than ever that these lifestyle changes are critical to breast health.
Unhealthy weight could equal unhealthy breasts.
Higher body mass index is a significant risk factor for not just breast cancer, but fatal breast cancer (American Journal of Epidemiology), and the danger isn't just in the morbidly obese.
Hormonal and metabolic changes after age 50 are well known to predispose a woman to weight gain, and those who gain more than 24 pounds are over one-and-a-half times more likely to get breast cancer than women of the same age whose weight remains stable.
Fortunately, women who lose weight, especially after age 50, cut their odds of getting breast cancer in half.
It's well established that regular exercise is a powerful way to reduce your breast cancer risk. The benefits are compounded when exercise is combined with the joy of having fun.
In one study of women age 50 and older, regularly engaging in high recreational physical activity dropped the odds of getting breast cancer by about 66 percent (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention).
Some examples of ideal exercises for breast cancer prevention include kayaking against the current rather than paddling lazily downstream, and striving to go farther and make better time in distance activities such as bicycling, swimming, walking, or hiking.
I'm not a fan of mammograms as a breast cancer screening tool because, among other reasons, they frequently find "tumors" that really aren't there, and miss real tumors until they're advanced.
And, in a 6-year study, women who got mammograms infrequently (and therefore had later diagnoses overall) had 22 percent fewer tumors detected and confirmed in a lab than women who got regular screening mammograms.
The researchers' conclusion: Those 22 percent of early tumors regressed on their own.
Conventional medicine says "spontaneous healing" of cancer is rare, but it makes perfect sense—a healthy immune system beats early cancer every day, with no one the wiser (Archives of Internal Medicine).
We've heard time and time again that one glass of red wine every so often has some health benefits. But when it comes to breast cancer prevention, you should avoid alcohol completely.
In a study of more than 184,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 71, as little. as 10 grams of alcohol—the standard amount in one drink—significantly increased the risk of getting breast cancer.
Compared to women who abstain, the probability of getting breast cancer goes up by 35 percent with consumption of 35 grams of alcohol a day (American Journal of Epidemiology).
In one study, scientists reported up to 79 percent increased risk of breast cancer in women taking typical HRT (conjugated estrogens from horses, plus synthetic progestins). The latest research not only confirms those findings, it magnifies them.
Taking HRT causes a woman's risk of breast cancer to increase profoundly and quickly—within just a couple of years after starting HRT.
This is, indeed, bad news for women who thought it would be okay to go on hormones just long enough to ease their journey through perimenopause.
The good news is that elevated risk goes back down within just a year or two after stopping HRT.
So, if you're considering HRT, I urge you to, first of all, be sure you really need hormonal support. If you are sure you do, take bioidentical hormones, and get off the hormones as quickly as possible so that you can get your elevated risk back down (Journal of the National Cancer Institute).
God's blessings and love to you!
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