Nothing can strike fear in the hearts of women as much as the thought of breast cancer.
In my family, two of my aunts, my first cousin, and other relatives have had breast cancer. Thankfully, less than 10% of breast cancer diagnoses are thought to be related to genetic risk factors, with the other 90% being triggered by environmental factors.
Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute and Harvard School of Public Health published a study that spotlights these environmental toxins. The study identified 17 common chemicals that should be the target of breast cancer prevention efforts.
“Chemicals in gasoline, diesel and other exhaust, flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, paint removers, and disinfection byproducts in drinking water. Among the specific chemicals on the list of 17 are benzene, which can be found in gasoline, vehicle exhaust, tobacco smoke and solvents; styrene, found in building materials and consumer products made from polystyrene, indoor air, cigarette smoke, polystyrene food packaging; and PFOA and related compounds, which can be found in grease-, water- and stain-proof coatings, or contaminated drinking water. The list also includes endocrine disruptors, which have received increased attention in recent years due to their connection to products containing BPA.”
What to avoid?
- Dry cleaning
- hair spray propellant
- gasoline additives
- paint removers
- spot removers
- auto exhaust
- non-stick and stain-resistant coatings on furniture, clothes, cookware, rugs, cosmetics,
- lubricants, paints, adhesives
- air pollution
- flame retardants on mattresses
Lifestyle can factor in up to 90 percent of breast cancer diagnoses. So, it's important to make some little tweaks in life that can lower your risk factors!
Are You Overlooking Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?
I'm starting with the number one thing that I think a lot of people are doing that needs to stop ASAP. That is purchasing and using Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals regularly.
Get rid of everything that smells great — just kidding, well, not really. That fragrance you smell, it's doubling your risk of breast cancer according to a study in Environmental Health.
Phthalates can trigger the growth of cancer cells. Many fragrance products are loaded with terpenes, benzene, and styrene, which are all carcinogens. So, swap out those plug-in wall fresheners, sprays, and fabric softeners! I show you how to accomplish this in my laundry room video.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic estrogen in your body. Xeno=Foreign so Xenoestrogen = a foreign source of estrogen. From perfumes filled with phthalates to hand sanitizers with triclosan to shampoos, bath bubbles, lotions, perfumes, and household cleaners, many contain xenoestrogens. These xenoestrogens disrupt the endocrine system's natural functioning process. They can wreak havoc on your hormonal balance and create a snowball effect of problems going wrong in your body.
Xenoestrogens have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Investigate your beauty products. Be wary of products that have excessive suds because they probably contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Look for products scented with natural, 100% pure essential oils and made with olive oil-based soaps and Castile soap. These do not lather like most soap, but they get you clean without the increased risk of breast cancer.
Some other risk-reducing habits to start:
Walk for an hour a day and pump iron three times a week to burn more fat and rid your body of excess estrogen, a hormone that can help cancer cells grow. You don't have to be a runner to get the benefits of hitting the trail.
Try yoga! Doing yoga can reduce inflammatory molecules associated with tumor growth. Studies show that women who practice yoga have 41% lower levels of inflammatory markers.
Sip tea with your meals and in between too! Cancer-fighting Polyphenols are found in black and green teas but only stay in your body for about eight hours. So drink teas frequently, or at least with meals to keep the fighting team in good shape.
Eat organic foods, especially celery, tomatoes, and broccoli. Better yet, eat the rainbow, and I'm not talking about candy! Remember, brightly colored fruits, and vegetables are packed with compounds that protect your DNA from free radicals.
So eat your oranges, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, pumpkin, and all those colorful berries. Although, recently pink-washing foundations have come out with reports saying that organic foods do not reduce the risk of breast cancer citing Max Gerson, MD as the person who started encouraging cancer patients to eat organic in the 1920s. This foundation also states that “The USDA does not claim that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.”
Due to lobbying, I don't feel like I can depend on the government to tell me whether I should eat organic or Genetically Modified foods since the government lags far behind other industrialized nations in food labeling laws. Considering this, and common sense, I feel like why take the risk with pesticides, herbicides, and genetically engineered foods?
Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and cold cuts as they are classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Install blackout shades in your bedroom. Artificial lights coming in your bedroom window or emitted from your tv, night lights, etc. can suppress your body's melatonin production. Sufficient melatonin means better sleep, as well as healthier DNA.
Get your sleep. Six won't do, seven hours is good, but eight is better. I avoid coffee after breakfast, but I like to drink a good bedtime tea to help me slip off into a peaceful nights sleep. I have written several articles on the importance of sleep and how to get a better night's sleep, including upgrading your mattress.
Speaking of mattresses, yours doesn't need to be flame retardant unless you regularly smoke in bed. Seriously though, some fire retardants contain tetrabromo bisphenol A, which is an endocrine disruptor-related to bisphenol A.
Replace those plastic water bottles and food containers with glass. The toxins in BPA (bisphenol A) which is found in many plastic water bottles mimic estrogen and increases the potential for growth of breast cancer cells. Drinking from a glass water bottle not only helps to avoid this chemical, but it's better for the environment.
Stop fighting for the closest parking spot and using the elevator. Get more activity during the day by climbing the stairs, or parking in the last place and getting in a few more steps on your way to shop.
If you are starting a family, consider breastfeeding as it reduces the risk of breast cancer.
Eating the following foods can help fight cancer cells
- Leafy greens
- Cruciferous Vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli (and their sprouts)
- Matcha green tea, Green, black, and oolong tea
- Wild-caught fish such as sardines and salmon
Help the body by keeping all exit pathways clear. Avoid constipation, sweat well, avoid electromagnetic waves from cell phones,
Raising your awareness of these risk factors is the first step in reducing your risk!
The content found in this blog post and elsewhere on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, ThatOrganicMom will receive a small but useful commission that will be used to help pay for this website!
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“Hong Kong : DH Echoes Hong Kong Cancer Day 2018.” MENA Report, Albawaba (London) Ltd., Dec. 2018.