20 Oct Breast Cancer Awareness Month
It is October, and it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness month. The color pink accents just about everything this month from signs in the grocery store to shoe laces on our favorite professional athlete…all to raise awareness of this terrible disease that affects so many and most of us know too well.
The worldwide incidence of breast cancer is up 20% from 2008. In the United States alone, 1 in 8 women will be diagnoses with breast cancer in their lifetime. Chances are you know someone who is currently battling breast cancer. Maybe you know a survivor. When breast cancer is detected early and is still in the localized stage, the 5 year relative survival rate is 100%*. Early detection is key. Prevention is a must.
Breast Cancer Early Detection (via preventcancer.org)
• In your 20s and 30s, have a clinical breast exam (CBE) by a health care professional at least every three years.
• Beginning at age 40, have an annual CBE.
• At age 40, begin annual screening mammography.
• If you are at high risk (see below) talk with your health care professional about beginning annual screening mammograms at a younger age and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
• If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk with your health care professional about genetic testing.
• At menopause, talk with your health care professional about whether you should have hormone replacement therapy.
• Breast self-exam is one way that you can get to know what is normal for your breasts. If you notice changes, see your health care professional right away.
Risk factors we can’t control
Unfortunately, there are risk factors associated with breast cancer that we can’t control or reverse:
• Family history
• Personal history
• Dense breast tissue and/or pre-existing conditions
While we are still looking for a cure, there is evidence that lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on reducing the risk for breast cancer. Similarly, these lifestyle changes have a positive impact on one’s overall health, thus reducing the risks for other diseases as well.
• Breastfeed your babies
• Drink more water (out of BPA free bottles!)
• Consume less sugar – It has been said that ‘sugar feeds cancer’.
• Eat less fat – high fat diets fuel tumor growth.
• Limit your alcohol intake – no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men.
• Quit smoking. Don’t start.
• Get moving! (at least 30-60 minutes 5 times a week)
• Know your numbers – Talk to your doctor about your weight, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose numbers. Get blood work done to determine a baseline and watch these numbers annually.
Several sources attribute the rise in breast cancer rates to better detection measures and others say it is the cause of toxic chemicals in our food and environment, especially those that mimic or resemble estrogen in their structure. Cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning agents, birth control pills can contain carcinogens or endocrine disruptors that can increase breast cancer risk. For a more complete list, visit
Remember, everything in moderation. If you are at risk for breast cancer, it might be wise to eat organic and try to eliminate sources of toxins in your daily life. By sharing this type of information with each other, we can stop this disease before it starts. We care about you and your overall health.
*American Cancer Society