“You have Breast Cancer”: A woman can receive no scarier news than that. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each October, we donate a portion of all sales to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.
As you may know, I am a physical therapist, massage therapist and lymphedema therapist. I’ve worked extensively with breast cancer patients and spent decades researching wellness and health. Rozetree Botanicals arose from the desire to find safe, gentle personal care products for those dealing with cancer and its side effects – what started as an attempt to help breast cancer patients, led to a natural skincare business.
Image by marcojean20 from Pixabay
What you may not know is that the majority of money used to fund Breast Cancer research goes predominantly to studying treatment and finding a cure. While this is important, I believe we should be doing more to research PREVENTION. Wouldn’t you love to have more tools to help your body resist getting breast cancer? Wouldn’t it be great if more research dollars went to educating women about how they can reduce their risk of getting Breast Cancer?
While working with breast cancer patients, I had first-hand experience helping them deal with the awful side effects of treatment. Many of these brave ladies underwent surgery, chemo and radiation. Just one of those treatments can have substantial side effects, let alone all three. What is especially distressing is that some of these women ultimately died of breast cancer even after going through all the treatments recommended by their doctors. Clearly, treatment doesn’t always lead to a cure.
Instead of going through the nightmare of Breast Cancer, treatment, wouldn’t it be better to not get Breast Cancer in the first place? Breast Cancer doesn’t just suddenly happen. It can start forming years, even decades before you detect a lump or before a Mammogram indicates a problem. That cancer could have been growing, mutating and maturing for a very long time. By lowering your risk, you can delay a cancer’s ability to progress to the point where it may never pose a health risk.
Although there is no magic bullet that can guarantee we will never get breast cancer, there are steps we can take right now to help reduce our risk. Unfortunately, many women are unaware of what they can do to decrease their risk.
Here are some things you can do that can help decrease your risk:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight gain makes you more at risk for ALL types of cancer. Losing a few pounds can make a big difference.
- Physical activity: Being physically active is linked to a lower risk of Breast Cancer. Moderate exercise at least 3 hours a week is the minimum you need to make a difference. Taking a brisk walk several times a week is a good way to start.
- Limit or eliminate alcohol consumption: Studies have shown that even a small amount of regular alcohol use contributes to Breast Cancer risk. Is that daily glass of wine worth it?
- Dietary changes: In Dr. Michael Greger’s book “How Not To Die” he devotes an entire chapter to Breast Cancer. He cites numerous studies indicating that a diet composed mostly of plant foods significantly reduces breast cancer risk. It appears that low fiber intake may be a risk factor. The only foods that contain fiber are plants, meaning veggies, fruits, grains and legumes. In addition to fiber, plant foods are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, all of which help to protect against cancer. The more plant foods you eat, the better, in terms of cancer risk as well as all other chronic diseases.
- Cancer loves sugar: Cancer feeds on sugar (glucose) but all of our cells use glucose as the primary fuel source. The best way to balance your body’s cellular needs without promoting cancer cell growth is to limit REFINED sugar. Consuming complex carbs such as whole grains and fruits and veggies with all their fiber and vitamins will provide what your body needs to be healthy without supercharging cancer cell growth.
Some things I have learned from working with cancer patients:
- The oncologists I worked with recommended that their patients NOT use an anti-perspirant. Think about that. There is a lot of controversy regarding aluminum in anti-perspirants but if cancer doctors don’t want their patients using them, maybe none of us should be using them. There are some really good deodorants that don’t contain any aluminum. Try to avoid those with baking soda as they often cause skin irritation. My favorite brand is Each and Every. Check out this link to find out more.
- Try to avoid underwire bras. The wire puts pressure on breast tissue sometimes leaving an indentation in the skin causing pressure on lymphatic vessels. This can lead to impaired lymph flow and compromise your lymphatic system. This is especially important if you’ve already had breast cancer.
- Consider getting a thermogram. A thermogram uses an infrared camera that detects inflammation in body tissue by mapping heat and blood flow. Inflammation can be an indication of increased risk of cancer in the area it is detected. Although a thermogram can’t diagnose breast cancer it can alert you to a potential problem without exposing yourself to the radiation that accompanies a mammogram. It is also a good option for women who are too young for routine mammograms but would like to know more about their potential risk.
- As I stated above, working with Breast Cancer patients is what eventually led to Rozetree Botanicals. I believe that everything we put in and on our bodies is either helping or harming us. The cleaner and purer our personal care products and food are, the better chance we have of maintaining optimal health.
Now back to why we support Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. BCPP is devoted to helping women learn more about what they can do to reduce their risk of getting Breast Cancer. Their website is packed with info: exposures to avoid, cleaning products, core science, food packaging and so much more. I encourage you to check out their website here to learn all you can about Breast Cancer prevention.
I hope this has been helpful in motivating you to actively pursue wellness and not wait until you are diagnosed with cancer.
Be well friends!