Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Tips to Keep Your Girls Healthy
Dr. Kara's Health Insights

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Tips to Keep Your Girls Healthy

by DK Kara MD on Oct 06, 2021

Have you ever come across someone wearing one of those pink ribbons on their shirt, purse, backpack, or other article of clothing? Ever wondered what it meant?

Ribbons are often associated with certain disease or condition awareness – the pink ribbon is a symbol of breast cancer awareness.

October is here, and over the years breast cancer awareness has made strides in both national headlines and local communities.

Breast cancer is a cancer that starts developing in the breast tissue (1). Some of the cells begin to grow and multiply in an out-of-control fashion. Soon, these cells form tumors that can be felt or seen on an x-ray.

And while this is an ever-growing concern, prevention is something we can all actively participate in.  

What are some ways you can optimize breast health for either you or a loved one?

Diet

The famous slogan “taste the rainbow” may have you thinking about Skittles candy, but you can choose to adopt the same idea into the fruits and veggies you eat.

Scientists aren’t clear on which aspects of healthy food helps fight against breast cancer. Whether it’s the antioxidants, beta carotenes, or other phytochemicals – one thing is certain: we weren’t made for the 21st century.

Processed foods, boxed meals, and instant dinners will never provide the wholesome nutrition your body needs to stay as well as possible.

Eating diets that include a wide variety of colorful fruits, veggies, whole grains, and natural fibers are your best bet at keeping breast cancers (and other diseases) far, far away.

According to recent research some of the best breast cancer fighting foods (2)✝✝ can be:

  • Turmeric
  • Onions
  • Apples
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Walnuts
  • Pomegranates
  • Fish
  • Berries
  • Flaxseeds

Foods to Avoid: In addition to avoiding processed and artificial foods, it’s best to limit alcohol consumption to about one drink per day.

Exercise

Retaining a healthy body weight can help keep many diseases and conditions at bay. Cardio used to be the gold standard, but now more emphasis is being placed on weight and resistance training.

Staying active helps reduce your risk (3)✝✝ of developing breast cancer by:

  • Regulating hormones
  • Eliminating toxins
  • Maintaining healthy weight
  • Lowers stress

If you don’t consider yourself the athletic type, maybe walking a nature trail or doing a home workout will be more doable than hitting the gym 5x a week.

Progress is better than perfection. Starting slow, finding a good routine, and being consistent will go a long way in staving off breast cancer.

Screenings

Around the age of 40, it’s recommended that women get regular screenings.

Why screenings? Technology has allowed us to be able to catch breast cancers in their earliest stages, even before you start to feel symptoms. Oftentimes, treatments work best when the cancer is caught early, and screenings can help with this.

One thing to note, though. There is a downside to getting regular screenings. Some of the negative aspects (4)✝✝ include:

  • False Positives: This is when an abnormality is found, but it doesn’t end up being cancer after all. This tends to happen more in younger women, a family history, or those taking estrogen therapy.
  • False Negatives: This is when nothing abnormal shows up from the screening, even though breast cancer is present. This can happen in dense breast tissue, which can appear very similar in color as tumors on screenings. As much as 20% of cancers are missed due to false negatives.
  • Over diagnosing/Over radiating: There are some cases where cancerous cell growth is found in breast tissue - called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). These noninvasive tumors typically need to be treated, but some never end up causing problems. Treating something that is not causing any symptoms or issues can bring unnecessary stress and anxiety.
  • Radiation: While the levels of radiation are relatively low, frequent exposure can result in getting the cancer you’re trying to avoid.

Alternative Treatments

If you find that you or a loved one has already been diagnosed with breast cancer, there are treatment methods that are considered complementary and integrative. Treatments such as:

  • Acupuncture
  • Ozone therapy
  • Reflexology
  • Aromatherapy/Essential oils
  • Cannabis/CBD
  • Medicinal mushrooms

Wrap Up

October is breast cancer awareness month. Many people come together to raise awareness, march for change, and educate their friends and family.

Breast cancer is a terrible disease that is sadly growing in cases all around the globe. It can start in either the glands that produce milk, or the glands that deliver milk to the nipples.

You can help lower your risks by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Eating colorful fruits and veggies, making time to exercise and keep your weight in check, managing stress and getting screenings can really make a difference.

There are also a few alternative treatment methods that can help you fight breast cancer naturally. Is there someone who may benefit from this article? Be sure to share with friends, family, and other loved ones.

Other FAQ

Do men get breast cancer? While breast cancer affects mostly women, occasionally men will get it too.

Where does breast cancer usually begin? It usually begins in either the duct that brings milk to the nipple (ductal cancer), or in the ducts that produced the milk itself (lobular cancer).

Will breastfeeding lower my chances of getting breast cancer? It can✝✝. Lowered estrogen levels, constant milk production, and healthier lifestyle choices seem to support a positive correlation (5)✝✝ between breastfeeding and lowered risk.

What do doctors do to find out if I have it? If your doctor finds a suspicious growth, a biopsy can be done to test the tissue for three specific proteins. These proteins, called estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and HER2,can be indicators that breast cancer is present. Tumors can also be looked at in labs to determine the grade (how likely it is to spread) the cancer is.

References & Disclaimers

(1) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/what-is-breast-cancer.html

(2) https://www.everydayhealth.com/breast-cancer-pictures/foods-for-breast-cancer-prevention.aspx

(3) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ijc.11186

(4) https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/mammograms-fact-sheet

(5) https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/breastfeed_hist

(6) https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient    

✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author