August 30, 2011

Breast Cancer: How to Reduce the Risk

Unfortunately, the risk of getting breast cancer is very real. While cancer is a complex illness, new research has pointed to environmental and lifestyle factors that may increase or reduce the risk of breast cancer. Here are some tips helping to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Keep a Healthy Weight

Obesity is associated not only with increased breast cancer risk, but also with increased risk of recurrence. This may be due, in part, to the excess estrogen and other hormonal imbalances that are associated with obesity. According to various sources, overweight, menopausal women are at the greatest risk.

So a regular exercise routine and healthful diet to keep excess weight at bay are good lifestyle choices.

Choose Safe Beauty Products

Beware of the “toxic trio”: formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. These chemicals are often used in nail polish and nail polish remover, as well as other cosmetics. These are implicated in the development of cancer, so steer clear of them whenever you can.

As a general rule, it’s probably best to choose cosmetics with the fewest ingredients possible, and with as few synthetic ones as possible. Deodorant, due to its proximity to the breasts, is of particular concern – experts recommend aluminum-free deodorants. You may wish to go a step farther and avoid deodorants with any synthetic ingredients (effective ones are now widely available).

Beware of the vague term “fragrance” on cosmetics. That could mean any number of scent-producing chemicals, some of which are implicated in cancer.

Minimize the Use of Plastics

Plastics, especially heated, worn, or damaged plastics, may leach chemicals into the food or liquids they contain. Some of these chemicals, such as BPA, are strongly implicated in the development of breast cancer, probably due to their tendency to disrupt hormones. Sources note that heating plastics is particularly likely to release these chemicals, which is why many of these same sources advise women to cover foods with a paper towel rather than plastic wrap before heating.

To minimize your plastics exposure, carry your own stainless steel water bottle, look for “BPA Free” plastics, and store and reheat food in glass or ceramic containers. Also, limit your consumption of canned food, as BPA is found in many canned foods.

Eat Healthy Foods

Healthy oils, particularly fish oils, are said to protect against breast cancer. Taking supplements and/or eating bi-weekly (at least) portions of fish like salmon and sardines may be a key preventative of breast cancer.

In addition, experts agree that lots of organic, fresh fruits and vegetables are keys to cancer prevention, as are hormone-free meats and dairy products.

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Alexis Rodrigo