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How can you prevent
 breast cancer?

 

Disclaimer: This article is only intended for general information. The various pieces of information in it have been gathered from the world wide web. 007b.com DOES NOT ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INFORMATION IN THE ARTICLE. The article and the information in it is not intended for diagnosis nor to be used as a substitute for seeking professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or care. 007b.com shall have no liability for direct or indirect, special, or consequential damages relating in any way to the use of information below, or resulting from any defects or failure in this information.


Preventing breast cancer

Breast cancer is a complex disease, and many factors contribute to it. The following points explain some things you CAN can do to help prevent this dreadful disease. Read more about breast cancer prevention and the role of these factors:


Vitamin D and sunlight

Breast cancer mortality rates in the U.S. vary according to the geographic region so that the highest rates are in the northeast and urban areas, and lowest rates in the south and rural areas.  This is explained by the variation in sunlight and the subsequent vitamin D production. The rate of breast cancer appears to decrease by approximately 30% when vitamin D levels are sufficient..

There has been a lot of new research on vitamin D in recent years, and vitamin D is now emerging as one of the most important factors in cancer prevention in general, and in breast cancer prevention in particular. In fact, some people believe that 90 percent of ordinary breast cancer is related to vitamin D deficiency, and breast cancer has been described as a "vitamin D deficiency syndrome".

Adult humans need much more vitamin D than the amount that used to be recommended (400 IU) — probably somewhere around 3000-5000 IU daily. You cannot get enough vitamin D from the diet alone. Sun exposure without sunscreen is the preferred source of vitamin D. If you need vitamin D supplementation, blood testing of vitamin D level is recommended to know how much supplements to take and not to overdose.


Bra wearing habits

In a study by Singer and Grismaijer in 1995, 3 out of 4 US women studied who wore a bra for 24 hours a day developed breast cancer compared to 1 out of 168 who wore a bra rarely or never.

That is a huge difference, and the implication is clear: women need to limit how many hours a day they wear a bra for their breast health's sake.

There is also a medical study from 2010 which showed lesions inside the breast from bra wearing.

Bras do NOT cause the cancer initially. Instead, they can restrict the flow of lymph within breast tissue, thereby hindering the normal cleansing process of the breast tissue. Many environmental toxins and pesticides that cause and promote cancer are "fat-loving" and thus reside in the breast tissue. Lymph fluid carries away waste products, dead cells, and toxins.


Childbearing and breastfeeding cut breast cancer risk

A big study published in the prestigious journal Lancet that reviewed data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries has clearly confirmed that childbearing and breastfeeding lower breast cancer risk substantially.

The researchers found that the relative risk of breast cancer is reduced by 4.3 per cent for each year that a woman breastfeeds, in addition to a reduction of 7 per cent for each birth. Confounding factors, including family history, age of starting periods (menarche), body mass index, the use of hormonal contraceptives, and alcohol or tobacco use did not alter the breastfeeding effect on the relative risk of breast cancer.

Breastfeeding acts in several ways in protecting women from breast cancer. Breastfeeding suppresses menstrual cycles which means less estrogen exposure. The lymph system within breasts, which is important in keeping the breast tissue clean, only develops fully during pregnancy. And, baby's suckling keeps the mother's oxytocin levels high.

Also, breastfeeding helps to eliminate fat-soluble pollutants and carcinogens from the breast tissue. They can end up in the milk - which raises the concern whether the baby is harmed. Of course, a totally clean breast milk would be ideal, but the bottom line is that for most people, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the small harm that might come from the typical level of pollutants in breast milk. You can find excellent information on contaminants in breast milk at Healthy Milk, Healthy Baby - Chemical Pollution and Mother's Milk from National Resources Defence Council.


Iodine

There is some kind of connection between iodine and breast cancer, though the exact mechanism of the connection isn't yet clear to researchers.

For example, many studies show an association between a variety of thyroid disorders and breast cancer. Then, there is the fact that iodine can be used to treat fibrocystic breast changes. It has been shown that iodine can inhibit breast tumour development. Also, Japanese women have a relatively low rate of breast cancer- and they consume a diet containing iodine-rich seaweed. And, so called "goiter belts" (regions where goiter is extremely prevalent, due to low levels of iodine in the water and diet) have higher than average cancer rates.

Iodine is crucial for the whole endocrine system, and deficiencies are involved in many conditions of the hormonal system, such as diabetes, polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS), fibrocystic breast disease, goiter (obviousily), and increased breast cancer risk.

Please note that insufficient intake is not the only cause for an iodine deficiency. It can also occur because of too high bromide intake. Bromide competes with iodine on a cellular level.

However, you have to be careful with iodine, because too much of it can also cause problems. We all need some, and many people are deficient in it; however please consult a good doctor before taking large quantities of it, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.


Insulin resistance & carbohydrates

Obesity has long been recognized as a risk factor for breast cancer. Recent reasearch is starting to unveil a bigger picture where obesity, a condition called insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, higher estrogen levels, and insulin-like growth factor I are all connected, and act synergistically. The exact causal mechanism is yet uncertain and under study.

People with insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia (also called syndrome X) have high levels of insulin in their blood because the cells in their body are resisting insulin so the pancrease produces more to counteract the resistance. This condition is caused by eating too much carbohydrates that digest rapidly, like bread, potatoes, rice, corn, baked goods, pop and other sugary drinks, cakes, cookies, most desserts, and some sweet fruits. (foods with high glycemic index).

Almost all people with type 2 diabetes and many with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and overweight people are insulin resistant. However, multitudes of apparently healthy Americans also have this condition without knowing it, because their pancreas is (still) compensating for the resistance by putting out lots of insulin.

The remedy to hyperinsulinemia is to change the diet towards foods with low glycemic index, protein foods, and vegetables. Also, exercise works wonders in lowering insulin levels.

Another player in this synergistic play (besides insulin) is the insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) that is normally present in humans. Consuming flaxseed has been found to reduce the IGF-I levels.


Omega-3 fats and breast cancer

The evidence is very compelling that consuming omega-3 fatty acids helps prevent breast cancer, and that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in diet is important. The typical western diet contains too much omega-6 fats compared to omega-3s: while the typical diet can contain up to 20 times as much omega-6 fats as it does omega2s, the optimum ratio for health is more like 4:1 or even lower. The beneficial omega-3 fats won't work nearly as well in protecting you from cancer if the diet contains lots of omega-6 fats. This is also a major factor in heart disease.

Omega-6 fats are found in refined cooking oils, such as soy oil, corn oil, sunflower, safflower oil, in margarine, and in all processed foods that use these. Omega-3 fats are found in flaxseed, walnuts, and in oily fish, like sardines, salmon, trout, and mackerel. Some fats/oils do not contain much of either type and thus can be used to improve the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats (for example, olive oil, coconut oil, and butter).


Estrogen, HRT, and flaxseed

Certain forms of the female hormone estrogen promote cancer growth. This explains why early puberty, short menstrual cycle, and not having children are risk factors for breast cancer: the more menstrual cycles you go through, the more estrogen you are exposed to.

The hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that combines estrogen with synthetic progestin increases the breast cancer risk substantially. Also, women using oral contraceptives (the pill) seem to have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer; however this increase may mostly come from the triphasic birth control pill that has levonorgestrel as the progestin.

While you cannot stop your body from producing estrogen (and you wouldn't want to), there are some plant substances that can alter the way your body processes estrogen (estrogen metabolism). Lignans in flaxseed, isoflavonoids in soy (but see note below), indole-3 carbinols in the cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc. and omega-3 fatty acids (flax, fatty fish) reduce the amount of the carcinogenic estrogen metabolite (16a-hydroxyestrone), and increase the neutral-to-favorable estrogen (2-hydroxyestrone), thereby increasing the 2-OH:16 alpha-OH ratio. Consuming flaxseed has been even shown to reduce breast cancer tumor size in rats.

Flax or flax oil is among the few sources of the essential omega-3 fatty acid ALA. The lignans that are so helpful against breast cancer are found in flax seed and not in the oil.


Pesticides, organochlorines, and radiation as breast cancer risks

Organochlorines are man-made chemicals containing chlorine and carbon. They include many chemicals present in pesticides, plastics, PCBs, pulp and paper manufacturing, sewage treatment and solvents. Many of them are xenoestrogens or estrogens mimics, which means that like estrogen, they promote the growth of breast cancer in the human body. Some of them are not estrogenic but are toxic and carsinogenic in general.

Organochlorines don't easily break down and accumulate in the fat tissues of humans and animals, becoming more and more concentrated as one moves up the food chain. They are highly toxic, causing for example birth defects and neurological damage. It has been found that organochlorines act synergistic in promoting breast cancer.

It is impossible to totally avoid exposure to organochlorines but you can do something. You can buy organic food as much as possible, and wash all non-organic produce very well to try to get rid of the pesticide residue. Don't use pesticides or herbicides at your home. Avoid food wrapped in plastic - at least don't heat it in plastic. Consider buying bottled water since tap water is chlorinated and can have many contaminants (including for example a common pesticide atrazine, a hormone disruptor).

Radioactive radiation is very carsinogenic, and the risk of breast cancer increases with increasing exposure to ionising radiation. Radiation has the greatest carsinogenic effect in children and young people, and the cancer may show up only decades later in their life.

There is not much you can do about the low-level radiation from nuclear plants and testing (except moving), but on a personal scale you can try to avoid medical X-rays, radiation therapy, and mammograms since they all deliver a dosage of ionizing radiation and since the risk of cancer 'accumulates' or increases with each exposure. For example, women with scoliosis (who get spine X-rays to diagnose the disease) and women treated for Hodgkin's disease (who receive radiation therapy to the chest/armpit area) have a higher incidence of breast cancer.

Yet there is hope with radiation damage, too. Curcumin, a substance in the spice turmeric (which is an ingredient in curry), has several cancer-fighting properties. A study found that in laboratory, curcumin can actually repair DNA that has been damaged by radiation.

Curcumin can also protect cells against xenoestrogens because it can fit to the same receptor as estrogen or estrogen-mimicking chemicals. In a study on human breast cancer cells, curcumin reversed growth caused by a certain form of estrogen by 98%, and growth caused by DDT by 75%. Another study found that a mixture of curcumin and soy isoflavonoids inhibited halted breast cancer growth that was induced by DDT and certain environmental pollutants by 95% (in vitro).

Yet another anti-cancer property of curcumin is that it is a powerful antioxidant. It can therefore protect our bodies from free radicals that damage DNA.This is also why turmeric (that contains curcumin) can be used for preserving foods.

Since curcumin is found in the spice turmeric, and turmeric is the principal ingredient in curry, you can enjoy the protective benefits of curcumin by just adding curry spice to your foods.


Vitamin E

Some studies have found vitamin E to have a protective effect against breast cancer, and many have not, but more recent studies are now finding that it is the form of vitamin E that makes the difference. It appears that the common form of vitamin E that you find in supplements and in most food sources, alpha tocopherol, is not protective against breast cancer (though it certainly is a powerful antioxidant and needed nutrient). But women consuming other forms of vitamin E called tocotrienols have been found to have dramatically lower risk of contracting breast cancer - 50% less risk for women without family history of breast cancer, and as much as 90% for premenopausal women with family history.

The food sources of tocotrienols are rice bran, barley, and wheat germ. Actually, palm oil is the best source of tocotrienols, but the palm oil sold in the U.S. is refined, and the refining removes the "good stuff."


Soy

Research on soy and breast cancer presents a conflicting picture. Many studies have shown a protective effect, many have not. One study found that the major phytoestrogens in soy, genistein and daidzein, stimulated breast tumor growth in laboratory and in animals at low concentrations but had the opposite effect at high concentrations. In yet another study, soy and curcumin together produced a 100% effect in stopping tumor growth.

The fact that Japanese consume soy and have very low breast cancer rates is often used to prove that soy can help prevent breast cancer. However, traditional Japanese diets differ from typical Western diets in many ways, so it could be something else (such as the iodine content from seafood) that is causing that. Also, Japanese consume soy in fermented form, and usually only as side dishes, in small amounts, and not as main staple. So, more research is needed on soy.


Oxytocin and breast cancer

There is some evidence that oxytocin, one of the hormones within human body, can help prevent breast cancer because it inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells in vitro. Oxytocin is responsible for many things, including a general sense of happiness, labor contractions, and the let-down reflex in breastfeeding. A loving, caring touch makes our bodies release oxytocin, as does nipple stimulation when the baby suckles the breast. (Maybe all these babies who like to play with the one nipple while suckling the other are doing a favor for their mothers!) This can explain in part why breastfeeding and being sexually active lowers a woman's breast cancer risk. Don't forget, hugs and friendly touch that in oxytocin production too!




Picture posted with permission from — Click to enlarge


Sources and resources


Disclaimer: This article is only intended for general information. The various pieces of information in it have been gathered from the world wide web. 007b.com DOES NOT ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INFORMATION IN THE ARTICLE. The article and the information in it is not intended for diagnosis nor to be used as a substitute for seeking professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or care. 007b.com shall have no liability for direct or indirect, special, or consequential damages relating in any way to the use of information below, or resulting from any defects or failure in this information.

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