Breast Cancer Facts and Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Breast Cancer Facts and Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Stephanie Mandel and Robin Foroutan by Stephanie Mandel and Robin Foroutan

Breast Cancer Facts and Ways to Reduce Your Risk

October 07, 2018

By Dr. Deanna Attai

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, affecting approximately 1 in 8 over a lifetime. Men are also affected, at a rate of approximately 1 in 100. All women should have an awareness of the changes that occur in their breasts and should undergo routine evaluation and imaging (such as a mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI if appropriate) at recommended intervals.

As a breast surgeon, I focus not only on the treatment of disease but on prevention as well.  While having a family history of breast cancer increases your risk, all women are at risk. Unfortunately, in any one individual, it is not currently possible to say exactly why breast cancer developed, but we are becoming more aware of the effects of lifestyle and environmental influences on the development of cancer as well as other diseases.

A healthy lifestyle does not equal prevention in all cases, but here are some facts regarding breast cancer:

1.  Postmenopausal women who are overweight have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, and if they’ve been treated for breast cancer, their risk of recurrence is increased if they are overweight

2.  Moderate exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer development as well as the risk of recurrent disease

3.  A high-fat diet has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer

4.  More than one alcoholic drink per day (in women) is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer

5.  Exposure to some environmental toxins, such as BPA, has been linked to breast cancer development in laboratory animals.

The link between breast cancer and various chemicals is the subject of intense research and there are many conflicting studies. Until we have firm data, however, it does seem prudent to limit your exposure to toxic chemicals whenever possible.

Remember though that it is possible to do everything “right” and still develop breast cancer. The reality is that breast cancer and many other diseases are caused and exacerbated by multiple factors – this is why studies evaluating methods of prevention are so difficult. It’s also why the studies that pop up every so often regarding the benefits of a particular nutrient or extract need to be placed in proper perspective – it’s usually not as simple as one nutrient or extract.

My recommendation for all of my patients, not just those with breast cancer, is to simply take good care of yourself. As we age (and we’re all getting older!), our bodies become less tolerant of the effects of lack of sleep, heavy alcohol intake, and the dietary habits that we had when we were in our 20’s. Our bodies have changed, and we have to change our habits if we want to try to stay healthy.

Guidelines to Leading a Healthy Lifestyle:

1. Focus on healthy fats such as olive oil, salmon, walnuts, avocado. Avoid inflammatory fats like hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, and fried or processed foods.

2.  Plant-forward diet – focus on lots of greens and veggies of all colors, as well as fruits. You may feel it’s easier to take your fruits and veggies in pill form, but while you may be getting some of the vitamins and extracts, the way the real foods interact is very complex (cancer development is a similarly complex process) and cannot be replicated in a pill. Trace nutrients that we may not even know about will also be missing, as well as fiber, not to mention the wonderful taste of properly prepared, fresh, real food! A periodic splurge is also fine – life is too short to go without chocolate – just make it is good quality, dark if possible. There is no one particular diet felt to reduce the risk of cancer development.

3.  Animal protein is ok, just consider the source and eat in moderation

4.  Don’t forget non-animal sources of protein such as legumes and quinoa

5.  Moderation in alcohol intake – 0-1 drink per day (and no, you can’t save up your week’s “allowance” for Friday night…)

6.  Moderate exercise – it’s ok if you can’t do you spinning class as you did 10 years ago – a good 30-minute walk once a day is fine. If you need that endorphin rush of strenuous activity, make sure to balance it with some more meditative exercise such as yoga or pilates

7.  Proper sleep – we all need 7-9 hours a night, period. Our bodies repair themselves during sleep, and you can’t just “catch up” on the weekends. Those that catch me online after 10 pm pacific time – feel free to call me out on this one!

8.  Meditation / Reflection – it is so very important to take some time each day to reflect on what is good in your life – having a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the good things will help make it easier to get through the tough times. This can be as formal or informal as you want, it’s just important to fit this in somewhere.

Those are the basics, and I welcome comments and suggestions from others on these points. Just remember that you’re not doing this specifically for breast cancer prevention – these are steps to make you a healthier and happier person.

For more information and resources regarding breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and support, visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352470 and https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/support-breast-cancer-awareness.php



Share this post:



Sail Through the Winter Without Feeling "SAD"
Sail Through the Winter Without Feeling "SAD"

by Robin Foroutan November 12, 2018

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is a type of depression that occurs during the winter. This type of depression, which affects more than 30 million Americans, is likely related to the changes in the amount of daylight to which a person is exposed. It also involves the circadian rhythm, which is our body’s internal clock that regulates sleep-wake cycles, among other internal functions. For most people, SAD is mild with symptoms ranging from fatigue to the “winter blues.” For many others, SAD may even interfere with daily activities.

Continue Reading →

Halloween Digestive Health
Halloween Digestive Health

by Robin Foroutan and Stephanie Mandel October 17, 2018

Sugar itself is addictive, and sometimes sugar cravings are the result of excessive yeast (in the spirit of Halloween, let’s call them “yeast monsters”) in the digestive tract. Believe it or not, these microbes can actually hijack your brain and cause you to crave things that benefit them (mainly sugar and carbs), even if it’s to your detriment. It can be hard not to give in to temptation, but we are here to help! 

Continue Reading →

Breast Cancer Risk: Can Soy Help?
Breast Cancer Risk: Can Soy Help?

by Stephanie Mandel and Robin Foroutan October 08, 2018

Does soy help prevent breast cancer? So much has been written regarding the role of soy and breast cancer, but much confusion remains. While research in this area is ongoing, here is what we know. Soy is an isoflavone, a class of chemical that has weak estrogen-like activity.  

Continue Reading →

Beware Kombucha Lovers: Please Read
Beware Kombucha Lovers: Please Read

by Robin Foroutan and Stephanie Mandel September 12, 2018

Naturally fermented foods are all the rage, and for good reason - but they’re not all the same! Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles) and dairy foods (kefir, yogurt) are fermented with naturally-occurring bacteria, like lactobacillus acidophilus. 

Continue Reading →

Subcribe for Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more …

Top