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March 12, 2013
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March 19, 2013

Food As Medicine
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7 Breast Cancer Risk Factors You Didn’t Know

My computer came with a manual. My ipod came with a manual. My juicer came with a manual. But I didn’t come with a manual. We have to learn how to operate this amazing machine we were each given: the human body.

Many of us have had to take it upon ourselves to learn how to properly feed, hydrate, detox, rest, and take care of our personal machine. When we do give it what it needs, it operates at full capacity. But when we don’t, parts can break down and our body begins to malfunction.

Breast cancer is one such “malfunction.”

Breast cancer is a much feared and misunderstood disease process. Much attention and resource is directed at “finding a cure” (great article) ignoring the many modifiable risk factors involving diet and lifestyle. In fact, as you’ll see below, many risk factors are not even common knowledge. Isn’t this where we should be spending the millions of dollars raised – to educate women worldwide on breast cancer prevention?

Below are seven uncommon breast cancer risk factors and, more importantly, what you can do right now to address the disease process.

1.Bras

Women who wear their bras more than 12 hours a day increase their risk of breast cancer by a factor of six.  1

Decrease your risk by… not wearing a bra or taking it off when you get home. If this is not possible, then avoid bras with wires – there are new ones on the market that have the look of an underwire bra, but are easier on the breasts. Massaging around the breast is also helpful to move stagnant lymph.

2. Fibrocystic Breasts

Fibrocystic breast disease (FBD) can sometimes be a precursor for later breast cancer and increases risk by 1.8 times. 2 3 4

Decrease your risk by… addressing the numerous factors that contribute to FBD such as caffeine, iodine deficiency, and hormonal imbalance.

3. Bowel Movements

Women with two or less bowel movements per week have 4.5 times the risk of pre-cancerous breast changes than other women who have bowel movements more than once daily. 5

Decrease your risk by… increasing fibre, water, and whole-food consumption. Assess whether you have a magnesium deficiency (which can be a cause of constipation) and restore levels if needed.

4. Estrogen Detoxification

A phytonutrient in raspberries, ellagic acid has the ability to increase an important pathway in the liver called glucuronidation by 75%. Glucuronidation is responsible for detoxifying estrogen, a hormone than can promote breast cancer if not detoxified properly. 6

Decrease your risk by… performing a clinical estrogen detoxification program. I recommend women and men do this at least two times per year. (More on this here) And eat more raspberries and strawberries, of course. 

5. Birth Control Pills

When birth control pills (BCP) are used before the age of 20, or if used for more than 5 years before the age of 35, they can triple the likelihood of developing breast cancer. 7 8

Decrease your risk by… stopping the use of hormonal birth control. There are many reliable birth control methods that don’t add extra hormones to your body. Millions of women are taking the BCP without being educated on the risks.

6. Cycle Regularity

If a woman’s cycle is less than 25 days, or more than 30 days, her risk for breast cancer increases by two times. 9 10 This is due to the increased exposure to estrogen. In the case of a shorter cycle, estrogen is being released more frequently. In the case of the longer cycle, the estrogen-secreting phase is prolonged. This is a reminder of how optimal health is a balance.

Decrease your risk by… seeking out a health care professional that can help you normalize your cycle.  

7. Flying

Flying may increase the risk of breast cancer. Studies show that flight attendants have an increased incidence. 11 One flight that lasts six hours exposes us to five millirads of radiation (a chest x-ray exposes us to 16 millirads). If you have to fly, try to fly at night when radiation levels are greatly reduced.

Decrease your risk by… Flying less or flying at night. Drink miso soup because, believe it or not, miso soup actually protects the body from radiation. Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D. treated his patients who had survived the bomb over Nagasaki with miso. He is recorded as saying, “I remember that none of them suffered from the atomic radiation. I believe this is because they had been eating miso soup.”

– Josh

References:

  1. Kuar, Sat Dharam. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer. Robert Rose Inc.: 2003.
  2. Euro Jour Cancer, 1990;26(5):555-57
  3. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 1997;46(1):45.
  4. The Journal of Naturpathic Medicine, 1997;7(1):95-98.
  5. Lancet, 1981;ii:1203-05
  6. Kuar, Sat Dharam. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer. Robert Rose Inc.: 2003.
  7. Science News, June 10, 1995.
  8. Lancet, 1989:973-82.
  9. Health, July, 1994.
  10. Am Journal of Epid, Dec 15, 1994.
  11. Lancet, 1995:Nov.25;346:1379.