13 Steps to Avoid (Breast) Cancer
We’ve been waging a conventional “war on cancer” for over 40 years without a dramatic improvement in cancer statistics. Maybe it is time to consider what the body needs to be healthy. With real prevention, there is nothing for “early detection” mammograms to detect. Cancers develop when something in the original plan has gone wrong. Here is a baker’s dozen prevention steps but, understand that they are not in order of importance because all are important and any one of them might be the key item for a particular woman
1. Make sure you have sufficient vitamin D.
- The evidence is mounting that low blood levels of vitamin D is a significant risk factor for breast cancer. Given the wide range of benefits from vitamin D and its safety, I see no reason to wait until the scientists stop studying the relationship and call it proven. (Sometimes these things take many decades.) Approximately 70% of dark-skinned persons, especially African Americans, are deficient and at greater risk.
- Our bodies make vitamin D when we expose significant skin to the sun for at least 10 minutes a day during a time when our shadow is shorter than our height. Time constraints, weather and fear of skin cancer interfere with sun being an ideal source of vitamin D.
- Certain mushrooms are one of the few foods that are a natural sources of vitamin D. Except for milk, very few food products are fortified with D. (Vitamin D2 fortification is not as effective as natural vitamin D3.)
- Most people benefit from supplementation. I don’t quote government guidelines because they reflect minimums needed only for bone health. The average person needs 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day and can easily tolerate that. However, we are individuals, not statistics. Some people need 5,000 IU or even more. I recommend getting the blood test called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D. Any doctor’s office can order it. Experts that I trust recommend a goal test result of greater than 50 but less than 100.
- After testing, you can adjust your supplement dose to reach that optimum range. Personally, I maintain a good level with 5,000 IU micro-lingual pellets that dissolve instantly on the tongue. They are made by one of our show sponsors, Superior Source. If 5,000 sounds like a huge amount, consider that our bodies naturally make 10,000 IU from a day in the sun.
- The very rare vitamin D side-effects have been from extreme excess caused by medical mistakes or unusual manufacturing errors. Typically the effects are reversible. There are many other reasons to optimize vitamin D besides breast cancer. Other benefits include the prevention of many diseases and increases in strength and energy. I know a woman who was saved from decades of suffering from painful breast lumps when she normalized her vitamin D levels.
- The non-profit Vitamin D Council is an excellent source of information.
2. Know your carbs. Of course you should eat lots of nutritious foods like clean proteins (e.g. wild fish, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs) and healthful fats like fish oil and the monounsaturated fats (macadamia nut oil and olive oil) while avoiding Trans fats which are usually present any time the label lists “partially hydrogenated” oils. But, the biggest and perhaps most critical factor is to be fussy about carbs.
- Avoid sugar. Research shows that a substantial dose of sugar disables important immune cells for several hours. Starch (e.g. flour) turns quickly to sugar in the system.
- A study showed that a diet high in starches and sugars was shown to increase breast density which is a risk factor for breast cancer.
- In one study, restricting carbs even two days a week was more helpful than a low calorie Mediterranean diet for reducing the risk of breast cancer (as well as diabetes and obesity).
- In another study or two, excess carbohydrate, especially starch, was shown to increase the risk of breast cancer re-occurrence.
3. Eat vegetables and fruits.
- Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates, but with much different effects than starches and sugars. Although some of the effect may be from the elimination of risky proteins and bad fats (e.g. Trans fats and other damaged fats), diets higher in plant foods have been shown to be protective. The jury is out on the effect of meat in general, but processed meat (e.g. lunch meat) and meat cooked at high temperature (e.g. charbroiled) are known risks.
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli help estrogen metabolize more safely.
- I eat pretty well, but for extra insurance, I drink an ounce a day of Fruit of the Spirit. Each delicious dose is equivalent to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. It also contains alkalinizing minerals and it is very low in naturally-occurring fruit sugars. (The maker gives my listeners a substantial discount at this link: Fruit of the Spirit.)
4. Support the team in your gut.
- Roughly 70% of our immune system is in the intestinal track, so it is crucial to support the beneficial bacteria it contains.
- If there are not sufficient good bacteria, yeasts (a type of fungus) can overgrow and crowd out the good guys. Yeasts produce poisons called mycotoxins and dump them into blood circulation. Mycotoxins are carcinogenic and some (mycoestrogens) can imitate estrogens. Limit foods like the sweet and starchy ones that feed yeasts.
- Avoid killing the good guys with chlorine in tap water, unnecessary antibiotics (both as pills and 2nd hand antibiotics in animal products that are not organically produced).
- Support your good guys (probiotics) with fermented foods and a supplement that contains live bacteria and the helpful substances created by of those bacteria. (Learn more from this article.)
5. Supplement wisely. For example, folic acid (a B vitamin) has been shown to reduce the incidence of breast cancer even among women who were genetically predisposed. Lily of the Desert brand Aloe vera has research to prove that it boosts immune function, increases antioxidants and helps with detoxification. It is a nice bonus that if you take your daily supplements with Lily juice, you absorb much more of them-e.g. 20 times more vitamin C. Consider the benefits of Flax. This study indicates that “Lignans [a component of flax seed] reduce breast cancer and all-cause mortality by 33%-70% and 40%-53%, respectively, without reducing tamoxifen effectiveness.” I use the sprouted form of flax because it is more stable and bioavailable.
6. Achieve normal weight.
- Most breast cancer is hormone dependent. Fat cells make estrogen.
- Fat cells also produce inflammation, which is a risk factor for most chronic diseases including cancer.
7. Avoid toxins.
- BPA and other plasticizers in plastics mimic hormones.
- Some pesticides and chemical ingredients (such as parabens) in skin care products also act like estrogens.
- Avoid antiperspirants. The aluminum they contain is under suspicion because it shows up in breast tissue, but antiperspirants also keep toxins trapped in the chest by blocking their natural flow out of lymph glands under the arm. (Deodorants don’t do that.)
8. Limit alcohol to one drink per day. Excess alcohol increases breast cancer risk. How does that square with the advice you’ve heard that red wine is good for your heart? The benefit seems to come from the plant antioxidants (polyphenols), not the alcohol. In fact, those plant compounds may be more effective without the alcohol. Longevinex capsules are the best way to get one of the most powerful of these, resveratrol.
9. Don’t smoke. Well, duh. We know that increases the risk of many (all?) diseases.
10. Exercise. Of course. Movement seems preventive for virtually every disease. Don’t forget strength training because muscle burns calories.
11. Reduce stress and anger. We may not be able to easily control the source of stress, but we can change the way we react to it. Integrative cancer specialists point to anger and resentment as controllable risk factors for cancer. Actress Carrie Fisher made this great observation: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
12. Use hormone replacement therapy safely.
- If you need to supplement hormones, be sure that your doctor bases dosage on your test results and monitors periodically to make sure you stay in a normal healthy range.
- Use only hormones that are identical to the ones that your body makes. For example, use progesterone, not synthetic progestin. Use estrogen that is identical to humans, not those like Premarin® which is derived from pregnant horses.
13. Avoid the night shift. Working late (even if it is at home updating your Facebook page) interferes with restorative sleep but also reduces the body’s ability to make the hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps with our body clock but is also a powerful antioxidant and immune booster that is associated with lower rates of breast cancer. It isn’t the same as getting to bed early, but it is certainly possible to supplement melatonin. As a bonus, this supplement is being extensively researched as a help in fighting cancer. Check out this study.
Although breast cancer can be scary and emotionally devastating, survival is actually excellent with early detection. For breast cancer patients it may be little comfort, but a lot more women die from heart disease than from breast cancer. Happily, the twelve points above reduce the risk of both diseases.