Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2016. It has been updated and republished in September 2019.
Did you know that fewer than 15% of all women who develop breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it? This might seem like a scary statement, but think about it…This means that 85% of all breast cancer cases are caused by factors other than heredity, such as environmental toxins, eating cancer-causing foods, and stress.
That being said, we all know that our bodies change as we get older. What might work for a 30-year-old might not be a 60-year-old’s cup of tea. In addition to knowing breast cancer signs, here are the top three breast cancer prevention tips you can follow to reduce your risk of breast cancer during each of your milestone decades:
Breast Cancer Prevention Tips for Your 30s
Did you know that the number of under-40-year-olds diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer has been steadily increasing for the last four decades… and that this rise is largely due to preventable factors? In fact, according to statistics provided by the University of Columbia, 95% of all cancers are due to bad diet and the accumulation of toxins.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #1: Get Into Healthy Habits
Maybe you picked up some bad habits in your teens and 20s, like smoking or eating junk food. NOW is the perfect time to make the changes that will turn into healthy lifetime habits later on. These include cutting back on sugar, eating more green veggies, organic proteins, and healthy fats, and lowering your consumption of alcohol. They also include drinking the right amount of fresh, pure water, and getting into a self-nurturing routine that includes stress-reduction techniques such as meditation and healthy forms of exercise.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #2: Reduce the Toxins Around You
Toxins exist all around us, even if we can’t see them. Get in the habit of going organic when it comes to your food sources and natural beauty products. Learn about how to create a “toxin-free” home; this includes reducing your exposure to Wi-Fi and cell phone electro-pollution. You have a lot you want to accomplish! Get in the habit of detoxing your body regularly through short-term fasts, enemas, or professionally-guided detox regimens. You will be helping your liver, kidney, and digestive system to function at its best so that you can be your most energized self.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #3: Think Twice About Oral Contraceptives
As convenient as they may be, those little pills are actually considered a Category 1 “Known and Probable Carcinogen” by the World Health Organization, alongside tobacco, diesel exhaust, and plutonium. In addition, a 2014 study done by the American Association for Cancer Research found that breast cancer risk increased by 50% in those who used oral contraception.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tips for Your 40s & 50s
The years between 40 and 59 find most women going through major changes in their physical body as well as mentally and emotionally.
These changes can be looked at as inconvenient, frustrating, and sometimes downright scary. But according to Christine Northrop, MD, this period of a woman’s life also represents “the biggest opportunity for personal growth and empowerment since adolescence.”
Knowledge really is the key to embracing the “change of life” that the 40s and 50s represent. That includes knowing specific information about what is going on with your unique body system.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #1: Check Your Hormone Levels
Fibroid tumors, menstrual inconsistencies, mood swings, insomnia, and thyroid imbalances are all modern-day associations with the period of a woman’s life between peri-menopause and menopause. These challenges do not mean that your body is suddenly flawed (as conventional medicine would have you believe).
It may mean, however, that because of xenoestrogenetic build-up or other factors, your body may need a little help in naturally coming back into hormonal balance. There is a way to gracefully transition to the next stage of life. Getting specific tests, such as those that check your bio-available hormones as well your iodine and vitamin D levels, is a great place to start.
You may also wish to check for overabundance of fluoride and bromide too. These can block the absorption of iodine, an important hormone for both the thyroid and the mammary glands.
Depending on the results of your tests, you can put into motion a diet and supplement plan that works for you. And if you do consider hormone replacement, choose Bioidentical Hormone Therapy. Unlike the synthetic variety, BHT will not increase your risk of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #2: Reduce Stress
Maybe you got used to “burning the candle at both ends” when you were in your 20s and 30s, but do you really want to keep up that stressful mindset now that you are in your 40s and 50s? Chronic stress lowers immune function and leads to depression as well as a host of other diseases, including breast cancer. NOW as you enter peri-menopause or menopause is the time for what life coach Cheryl Richardson calls “extreme self-care.” This means getting serious about embracing specific practices, such as meditation and yoga. These practices will help pull your system out of flight-or-flight mode and into a more peaceful state of mind.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #3: Practice Early Detection
Although I am not a fan of mammograms, I am a believer in very early breast cancer detection. Did you know that thermography can detect abnormalities in the breast area up to seven years before they become detectable by conventional imaging? Also, remember to perform regular self-tests as well.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tips for Your 60s & Beyond
The majority of breast cancers occur in women over 65. That is not a pleasant statistic, but it doesn’t have to apply to you if you adhere to the following:
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #1: Keep Active!
Retirement doesn’t have to mean being a couch potato. If you want to prevent breast cancer into your golden years, movement is a must-do. We all know that obesity increases the risk of dis-ease of all kinds. But did you know that a mere one hour of brisk walking each week can cut the risk of breast cancer recurrence by up to 20% for postmenopausal women?
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #2: Rethink Calcium Supplementation
If you are concerned with the condition called “osteoporosis,” you may have followed the conventional recommendations that suggest you take a “bone-building” drug such as Flosomax. Unfortunately, these drugs have some very serious side effects. Over-supplementation with calcium drugs without the proper intake of vitamin D and K can lead to heart attack and calcified arterial plaque. In addition, increased bone density can result in a 2-fold increase in breast cancer risk, according to recent studies.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tip #3: Practice Emotional Health
According to the Center for Disease Control, 85% of all diseases have an emotional element to them. If you are over 60, take the time to reflect on your life as well as your quality of life now. Reach out to others with similar interests; you don’t have to go it alone. Are there experiences you’ve wanted to have or skills you’ve wanted to learn but think that “your time has passed?” Sign up for a class and just do it!
If you’re dealing with a health challenge now, be open to learning about the emotions around it and that may be contributing to it. Journaling, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), meditation, tai chi, and gentle yoga can all be great avenues to explore for health and inner balance as well as connecting with like-minded peers.
Over the last decade, cutting edge research about epigenetics and nutrigenomics have taught us that there is A LOT we can do to put our health destiny in our own hands. Wherever you are on the path of life, there are specific actions you can do NOW to prevent breast cancer and live a balanced, vibrant, and health-filled life. Whatever your age… now is the time to make that happen!
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