By Lorna Vanderhaeghe, B.Sc.
I was ten years old when I visited my maternal grandmother for the last time. It was Christmas and my grandmother had prepared a fabulous turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but she ate baby food from a jar - she was dying of breast cancer and the cancer had spread to her digestive tract. Fear stopped her from seeking an early diagnosis and she waited until the cancer was growing outside of her breast before visiting her doctor.
Breast cancer has left an indelible mark on my life, the images of my dying grandmother still strong in my mind. Prevention is a word we speak often in our household with two daughters aged 17 and 24 and a family history of this terrible disease.
Take the following breast health test and discover your true risk for breast cancer. Less than 10 percent of breast cancers are genetic. Knowing genetics is a minor factor in the development of breast cancer we need to understand the other rarely mentioned factors that increase our risk of breast cancer.
We can choose alternatives to many of the risk factors above and we can make dietary and lifestyle changes that will protect us from developing breast cancer or at least reduce our risk.
Nutrients for Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment
- Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is an anti-cancer phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables. Research has shown that I3C helps to breakdown cancer-causing estrogens to non-toxic forms. It has also been shown to inhibit breast cancer tumors.
- Calcium D-glucarate is a powerful detoxifier of excess estrogens from the liver and important for both the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
- Green Tea Extract contains polyphenols, catechins and flavonoids shown to be protective against estrogen-dominant breast cancers.
- Curcumin is the yellow pigment of turmeric - the chief ingredient in curry. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and it works to inhibit all steps of cancer formation: initiation, promotion, and progression. Curcumin also protects against inflammatory calcium loss from our bones.
- Milk thistle enhances detoxification from the liver, inhibits breast cancer cells from replicating and reduces the toxic effects of chemotherapy.
- Rosemary extract, a potent antioxidant, inhibits breast cancer development and it helps to detoxify carcinogenic estrogens.
- Lycopene found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, papaya, guava and watermelon, was recently shown to reduce a women’s risk of breast cancer by 36 percent when those women took 6.5 mg per day.
- Sulfurophane, from broccoli sprout extract, has been shown to stimulate the body’s production of detoxification enzymes that eliminate xenoestrogens. Recent research points to this nutrient as a powerful anti-breast cancer agent. Sulfurophane is also a powerful antioxidant.
What Else Can We Do?
We can avoid pesticides, use nail polish that is tolulene and phthalate-free (pronounced thalate) and choose hair dyes that are safe. Safe hair dye and nail polish are available at the health food store.
We can choose unbleached sanitary products again these can be found at your health food store. We can avoid certain prescription drugs that caused mammary tumors in rats and mice. We can limit the amount of dry cleaned clothing we wear.
We can choose to exercise 30 minutes three times a week and eat healthy foods that don’t disrupt our estrogens and take nutritional supplements that protect against environmental estrogens and support the liver and body to fight cancer before it begins.
We can support new mothers to breast feed for as long as possible. Breast-feeding has been shown to be a powerful protector from breast cancer. We can clean up our environment to reduce our exposure to xenoestrogens.
We can reduce the number of yearly x-rays we have from dental x-rays, chest x-rays and have a baseline mammogram and then only if required thereafter.
These are things that can reduce our risk of breast cancer and prevent this rapidly rising disease.
Lorna Vanderhaeghe is a health journalist who has been researching nutritional medicine for over 20 years. She is the author of several best-selling books. Her latest is No More HRT: Menopause Treat the Cause. Go to www.healthyimmunity.com for more information.