In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month that takes place around the world every October, it is important for every woman to educate themselves on preventative measures to practice and incorporate into their daily lives. There are several ways that you can reduce your risk. Here are my top 7 tips every woman should be aware of in order to help prevent breast cancer.
1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Drink in moderation as excessive alcohol has been linked to increased risk of cancer. Get plenty of exercise. 30 minutes a day, five times a week is recommended with as little as 1.5 to 2.5 hours of walking a week to help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Maintain a healthier diet and take dietary supplements too. Being overweight or obese has been shown to be a risk factor in developing certain types of breast cancers.
2. Give your girls some love
It’s important to regularly perform self-breast exams and familiarize yourself on how your breasts feel and look so you can notice any changes that may occur. The right way to assess your breasts is to “gently” press your index and middle finger in a circular motion travelling counter clockwise starting at the bottom and moving around the top. Here is a little diagram to check your form.
3. Choose a natural deodorant
What most people don’t know is that deodorant blocks your sweat glands and impairs your lymphatic system from using that detox pathway. One of the main ingredients in deodorant is aluminum and if you are continuously blocking the way for toxins to get out this can lead to higher levels of toxicity in your body that can compromise your health over time. If you need to wear deodorant, choose a natural alternative without aluminum such as Toms of Maine, Kiss My Face, Schmidt’s, and our editor loves the Leaves of Trees lavender tangerine one. There are also effective natural deodorants that you can purchase locally at The Soap Dispensary, or even make your own which I love to do! There are blends of pine, cedar, eucalyptus and fir that work just as well as drugstore brands.
4. Understanding birth control
Taking oral contraceptives is a risk factor for developing breast cancer, however the risk decreases to normal levels the longer you are off them. For example, women who took birth control pills more than 10 years ago would have the same risks as women who never took them. Carefully consider the pros and cons of taking birth control and talk to your doctor if you would like other options. Watch your exposure to xenoestrogens which mimic the effect of natural estrogen found in the body and disrupt the endocrine system. They are found in industrial compounds such as BPA (plastics), phthalates (soft plastics), and parabens (cosmetics). Look for labels that say paraben and phthalate free on makeup and body lotions as well as BPA free labels on water bottles and other plastics you use to reduce your exposure. I recommend that all women and girls starting at the age of 12 take Estrosmart, available in most health food stores, to help get rid of excess estrogen in the body as well as balance hormones.
5. Get informed about hormones
Whether it be balancing monthly hormonal fluctuations or choosing to use hormonal replacement therapy it is important to know what you’re dealing with. Women today have the choice of taking synthetic estrogens and progesterones or using more natural bioidentical creams which are directly related to proactive breast health.
6. Check your family history
If at all possible it is very helpful and important to know how many people in your family have had breast cancer? You’d better check. If you have close family members who have developed breast cancer then that increases your risk exponentially as these risks are normally genetic.
Stress can speed up the process of any underlying disease and it’s important to stay calm and relaxed as much as possible instead of worrying your life away. Rather than worrying focus on doing what you can to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Try to adopt a positive, proactive outlook too. You’ll not only reduce your stress and risk factor, but your quality of life will be that much better.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and finding a cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer that you can find here.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
The Canadian Cancer Society
The Breast Cancer Society of Canada
Rethink Breast Cancer