The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You’ll see the pink ribbon signifying breast cancer prevention movement at events and marketed on products. There will be a lot of information about breast cancer screenings. Special fundraising events will bring hope and support. And families affected with the disease will be reminded about the difficulties, as well as their love for each other.
Yet, breast cancer awareness is also about prevention. And while there is much we still do not know about the disease, there is growing evidence to suggest that a healthier lifestyle may be a significant part of its prevention.
The Mayo Clinic says you can reduce your breast cancer risk with these proven preventive lifestyle tips:
- Reduce alcohol consumption – The American Cancer Society says “the use of alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.” Look to bring your consumption to no more than 1 alcoholic drink a day.
- Get regular exercise – if you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, you’re going to reduce your breast cancer risk.
- Avoid hormone therapy – limiting or avoiding post-menopausal hormone therapy has shown to decrease your breast cancer risk. Many post-menopausal symptoms can be reduced through regular exercise and herbal supplements; alternative medicine specialists like licensed naturopaths, homeopaths, and acupuncturists are often a great resource.
- Keep a healthy weight – eating more veggies and fruits to help you maintain a healthy weight, along with regular exercise, has been shown to reduce your breast cancer risk. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps to reduce the risk of other diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Additionally, Breast Cancer Action, a progressive group on breast cancer awareness, promotes the reduction of toxins in our environment as another way to potentially reduce our breast cancer risk. And the organization calls upon government leaders to address the overuse of synthetic and toxic chemicals to better protect the public from adverse affects. For example, the American Cancer Society acknowledges that there are estrogen-like properties found in some plastics, cosmetics, and pesticides that are of concern. Here are some tips for you to reduce the toxins in your life from Environmental Working Group –
- Filter Your Tap Water – by using a simple tap-mounted filter or pitcher you can easily filter out the common carcinogens of arsenic, chromium, and chemical byproducts.
- Cut Down on Fatty Meat and High–Fat Dairy Products – Pollutants like dioxins and PCBs can accumulate in the food chain and concentrate in animal fat. The tip here is to change your diet to not only be more lean but also reduce your meat and dairy consumption.
- Eat Organic – You can easily reduce your pesticide exposure by eating mostly organic. Farmers Markets are an excellent, fresh source of organic produce, and you can find local organic markets and farms through localharvest.org.
- Cut Your Exposure to BPA – Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic estrogen found in some hard plastic water bottles, canned infant formula, and canned foods. Look for BPA-free when you purchase reusable water bottles, and try to reduce your consumption of canned foods unless they say they use BPA-free material – Eden Foods is an example.
- Know What is in Your Personal Care Products – You can learn about the chemicals in your cosmetics and personal care products by going to Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Make better choices in reducing your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals by being informed.
Photos by Dreamstime: Darrenbaker and Phoric