Fight Breast Cancer: Simple Steps to Lower Your Risk & Smart Ways to Spot It Early

Many experts believe that the fight against breast cancer is being won, with over 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States testifying to our progress. However, it’s important not to be complacent about this deadly disease, as even though survival statistics are increasing, you may not yet be out of danger. Experts say that 90% to 95% of breast cancer cases are not hereditary, so the focus should be on the risks that can be reduced, such as the following:

Avoiding ionizing radiation

Always avoid ionizing radiation whenever possible. CT scans produce 500 times more radiation than standard X-rays, so only get scanned when absolutely necessary.

Minimizing potential carcinogens

Minimize your exposure to potential carcinogens in your life, such as pesticides, heavy metals, environmental toxins, and estrogen-mimicking compounds present in numerous food, household, and environmental sources.

Adopting healthy personal habits

Lower your cancer risk by avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, getting enough sleep, and keeping your weight under control.

Utilizing smart detection

Mammography can spot problem areas in the breast but also misses tumors – it fails to detect 20% of tumors in women over 50 and up to 40% in younger women. Mammograms also produce ionizing radiation which is a cancer risk. Other testing options include ultrasound, MRI, and thermography, but none of these are completely accurate. It is recommended to use a combination of these methods to get a comprehensive baseline image, then use thermography annually to measure breast health progression.

Using lab work for preventive detection

For example, imbalanced hormone levels, poor estrogen metabolism, low thyroid levels, and high iodine can all be problematic. Diagnosing and correcting these problems early can help prevent cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has also recently approved a test for galectin-3, a protein that at elevated levels, can indicate an increased cancer risk.

Biopsy options

If you have a suspicious mass, a biopsy is often used to determine if it’s cancerous. There are two main types of biopsies: fine needle biopsy, where a hollow needle removes a small sample of tissue, and excisional biopsy, where the entire mass is removed. Each technique has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on various factors.

Treatment options

The three major forms of cancer treatment include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. New individualized chemotherapy approaches, based on the genomes of the cancer and the patient, are having a profound effect on chemo effectiveness. Radiation therapies are also being developed, such as the mammotome technique, which delivers highly targeted radiation to the tumor while leaving surrounding tissue undisturbed.

Considering your diet and lifestyle

Your lifestyle and diet can directly affect your breast cancer risk. Diets high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables contain natural antioxidants that have been shown to help prevent cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower are particularly beneficial as they contain multiple compounds that act specifically against cancer and help balance hormones.

Using nutritional supplements

Research shows that nutritional supplements can play an essential role in protecting against breast cancer. Medicinal mushrooms, extracts of herbs like skullcap, astragalus and turmeric, the flavonoid quercetin, and the compound DIM (diindolylmethane) have all shown effects against breast cancer.

Mind-body connections

Chronic stress can play a significant role in fueling cancer. Utilize available tools to keep stress at bay, such as taking long walks, practicing yoga, and spending time with friends and family. The most successful approach against breast cancer combines a number of strategies that work together synergistically to fight cancer while supporting your health from many different angles.