Three Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention

“Whatsoever is the father of disease, poor diet is the mother.” 

-Chines Proverb

In the 1970s, the chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States was one in 12.  By the 1980s, it changed to one in 10 and the numbers continue to look more bleak. Every decade the odds of getting a breast cancer diagnosis increase as is indicated on the chart below.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer for 2023 are around 297,790 new cases, which means about 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

That’s the bad news. 

The good news is that there is so much that’s within your circle of influence to improve your odds of NOT getting breast cancer.  

By adopting a healthy eating and lifestyle strategy, you can improve your odds of preventing cancer in the first place.  Some research indicates that 90% of all disease (including cancer) can be prevented with diet and lifestyle habits.

So, in this article, I want to get you started on three.  

These three lifestyle habits can easily be included into your life, and they will improve your odds of preventing breast cancer, or a cancer recurrence.  There are many more than these, but this is a place to start. 

Eat cruciferous vegetables

Eat cruciferous vegetables every day: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale and collard greens.  Excellent research has shown that the power of adding cruciferous vegetables to your diet improves your odds of preventing breast cancer. These vegetables contain important indole and sulfur compounds that help the liver neutralize dangerous, disease-promoting forms of estrogen into safe forms of estrogen.  There was a study in Israel where women were given a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables; in seven days, the women showed a dramatic drop in dangerous estrogen levels and an increase in protective estrogen. So, start adding these to your diet and make it a point to eat them every day. 

Optimize Vitamin D levels

Get more sunshine: Optimize your vitamin D levels. Higher serum levels of Vitamin D were found to reduce your risk of many cancers. A study by GrassrootsHealth showed that it will help reduce your risk of breast cancer by 80%. 

In that prospective study of 844 female participants aged 60+ years, GrassrootsHeatlh examined the relationship between Vitamin D levels and the incidence of breast cancer. Those with concentrations above 50 ng/ml had an 80% lower risk of breast cancer than those with concentrations below 50 ng/ml. These findings suggest that Vitamin D levels above 50 ng/ml may provide additional benefits in the prevention of breast cancer.

Another analysis of a randomized clinical trial with 25,871 patients showed that Vitamin D supplementation reduced the incidence of advanced (metastatic or fatal) cancer, with strongest risk reduction in individuals with normal weight.  Vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing advanced cancer among adults without a diagnosis of cancer at baseline; this protective effect is apparent for those who have normal BMI.

WOW! Vitamin D!  Right!! 

The best way to get Vitamin D is through sunshine. Sunlight not only affects your cancer risk but your overall good health in many different ways.  Spending 10 – 20 minutes in the sunshine, two times a week, while wearing as little clothing as possible, is the best way to get your weekly dose of Vitamin D.   

Unfortunately for many of us living north of the equator, we may not be able to get what we need from the sun.  Supplementing is your best bet.  

The good news: Vitamin D supplements are cheap. 

The next question is always, how much do I take?  Well, that depends.   

How much Vitamin D you take depends on what your Vitamin D level is and the only way to know that is to do a blood test.  Ask your doctor to run a test for you.  Once you know your level, you and your trusted health care provider can figure out the right dose to take, if any.  

Remember, it’s less about what specific dose you should take and more about what specific dose you need to take to get your blood serum Vitamin D level at the optimum range. 

So, what is the optimum blood serum range?

To maintain good health, the optimum range suggested by many studies is 40-60 ng/ml.  However, if you are dealing with a chronic condition, other studies and health providers suggest the optimum range is nearer 60-80 ng/ml. You will want to discuss what level is best for optimizing your health situation with a trusted nutritionist or health care professional. 

Add herbs: Turmeric

Turmeric is known as the anti-cancer spice for a reason. Turmeric owes its preventive and healing skills to its active ingredient curcumin, a compound that’s rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that has been shown to be incredibly protective.

There are more than 1,000 research studies with the same results: Curcumin is anti-cancer.   

In the book Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, he says:

“International research shows that turmeric, taken as supplemental curcumin, is as effective and, in some cases, even more effective than pharmaceutical drugs – without their side effects. Recently, my colleagues and I at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center compared curcumin to anti-inflammatory and pain-killing medications, and to cancer drugs, testing those agents for their effectiveness in reducing inflammation and stopping the proliferation of cancer cells. Curcumin proved to be more effective at reducing inflammation than over-the-counter aspirin and ibuprofen, and as effective as the more powerful prescription drug, celecoxib (Celebrex). It also proved as effective in thwarting breast cancer cells as tamoxifen, a drug widely used to stop the spread or recurrence of breast cancer. These results are nothing less than astounding.”

Research demonstrates that the curcumin found in turmeric can fight cancer on many levels. It can:

  • Inhibit the activation of genes that trigger cancer
  • Inhibit the spread and proliferation of tumor cells
  • Inhibit the transformation of a normal cell into a cancer cell
  • Kill cells that mutate into cancer
  • Shrink cancer cells
  • Prevent tumors from spreading to other organs
  • Prevent the development of the blood supply necessary for cancer cells to form and spread
  • Enhance the cancer-destroying effects of chemotherapy and radiation

Curcumin has demonstrated some or all of the above actions against 22 different types of cancer, including breast, colon, lung and prostate. 

In a study reported in the journal Menopause, researchers found that curcumin lowers the risk of breast cancer in women who took combined estrogen and progestin hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a proven risk factor for the disease. 

Gayle and I consume this spice daily. It’s inexpensive, available at the grocery store and easy to incorporate into meals or as a supplement.

You can’t change all your risk factors for breast cancer; for example, your gender, when you were born, the family you were born into, your menstrual history, whether or not you gave birth and at what age you did. But, you can start making healthier diet and lifestyle habits a daily thing and improve your odds of preventing dis-ease in your body.  

Your ability to stay well or get well lies largely in your hands, and that is mighty empowering. Wouldn’t you agree? 

If you are ready to take charge of your health and make some healthy changes, but don’t know where to start – I can make it so much easier for you.  I am now accepting new clients. You can schedule a free 30-minute discovery call to learn more about how I can help.   Go here. 

Sources:

Susan Silberstein, PhD, 2016.  Breast Cancer. Is it what you’re eating, or what’s eating you? Center for Advancement in Cancer Education, Richobor, PA.

Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, and Debora Yost, 2011. Healing Spices. How to use 50 everyday and exotic spices to boost health and beat disease. Sterling, NY.

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Picture of Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta is a certified functional nutrition practitioner, holistic cancer coach and speaker. She studied whole-food, plant-based nutrition with T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. She is a food driven analyst and works with clients to help them use nutrition principles to solve the root causes of their health symptoms. She knows that functional nutrition is the answer to our current healthcare crisis, both for individuals and for society at large, and wants to inform as many people as she can of the power of food to heal. Her promise to clients - if you eat better, you will feel better.