October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and if you've been following me on Instagram you might have caught some of my posts! And if you're not following me, click HERE and follow me! Anywho--my mom is a 2x breast cancer SURVIVOR so this particular cancer is near and dear to me. I have so much to say about it, but hopefully by the end of this post you will not only learn something, but want to be proactive with your own ta-tas! MEN too!
Breast Cancer Stats
- 1 in 8 US women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime.
- In 2018 an estimated 266 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
- In 2018 almost 64,000 women will be diagnosed with non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- Breast cancer, along with skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in US women.
- African-American women under 45 are more commonly diagnosed than Caucasian women.
- As of January 2018 there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer.
- A women's risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a first degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) that has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Self Breast Exams
- This is still under controversy if it's actually recommended or not in the guidelines, but my opinion is...what harm can it do? It only allows YOU to become more familiar with your OWN body. If something doesn't feel right, keep an eye on it and seek appropriate care if necessary!
- Pick 1 day out of the month and perform this in front of the mirror
- Inspect both your breasts. Look for anything abnormal--color, discharge, dimpling of the skin, etc.
- Clasps your hands behind your head and press hands forward. Again, inspect for any abnormalities.
- Next, put your hands on hips and pull shoulders and elbows forward towards mirror.
- Raise your left arm behind your head (easily done in shower or while laying down in bed).
- Use 3-4 fingers to explore your left breast firmly moving in a circular pattern around the breast. Make sure you cover the ENTIRE breast.
- Repeat on other breast!
This below is what you are looking for!! If you recognize something, DON'T panic! Some changes are normal, BUT if it sticks around, be smart and go see a doctor (me!). #knowyourlemons
Prevent Breast Cancer
What can you do to prevent breast cancer? There's plenty!
First avoid these 3 things:
- BPA (Bisphenol A): an endocrine disrupting compound and a reproductive toxicant. It’s found in everything from food and drink containers to dental fillings. The FDA most recently banned BPA from baby bottles and formula packages! Make sure you buy BPA free plastics and BPA free canned food. There are MANY studies that have shown BPA exposure is linked to breast cancer. Check out bcpp.org for more information.
- PESTICIDES: chlordane (pesticide) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy propionic acid (2,4,5-TP) (herbicide). The EPA (environmental protection agency) and IARC (international agency for research on cancer) have classified these as 2 possible human carcinogens. They were both banned in 1980, however, they still persist in our environment. Another herbicide that is still present today is 2,4-D and it’s an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen. High levels of estrogen have been linked to breast cancer. What do you do? Wash produce well before eating and buy organic to avoid these pesticides and herbicides. Check out a previous post on the EWG Clean 15/Dirty Dozen too.
- PARABENS/PHTHALATES: both are common endocrine disruptors that have been linked to increased breast cancer risk. These chemicals can be found in shower curtains, air freshener (plug-ins), plastics, hair spray, nail polish, lotions, sunscreens, deodarants, makeup and hair products. Want to avoid? READ YOUR LABELS. This post could be a mile long. Visit bcpp.org for more ways to reduce your exposure.
- Focus on your DIET. If you've followed me for awhile, you might see a theme here. I firmly believe most disease processes can improve and be avoided by what you put in your mouth!
>> Increase your veggies! 5-7 servings PER DAY.
>> Increase your consumption of WHOLE grains (there are plenty of studies that show these grains reduce the likelihood of cancer)
>> Decrease consumptions of processed food and red meats. There are carcinogens produced from BBQing or cooking meats at high temperatures and nitrites have been linked to DNA damage.
- DECREASE ALCOHOL CONTENT. For men, no more than 2 drinks per day and for women no more than 1. Your risk increases considerably if you combine alcohol with tobacco.
- EXERCISE. Get that body moving!! There are trillions of studies linking obesity to cancer. Try going for a walk for 10-15 minutes daily. Start slow and increase your time and distance.
- Get your vitamin D levels checked! Think you get enough from being in the sun...I can bet money that you are still deficient.
- Swap your regular tea for GREEN TEA. Green tea has been shown to decrease the risk of breast, prostate and lung cancer.
For more information or any questions, please contact me HERE!