Friday, October 1, 2010

How to Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast cancer-free for life

October is the month dedicated to the awareness and prevention of breast cancer. Like many other cancers, breast cancer is preventable and curable. Unfortunately, modern life styles, lack of knowledge  and late detection, more often than not, lead to the high mortality rate of breast cancer victims.

Breast cancer is a cancer that affects the breast tissues. It usually forms in the ducts that carry milk to the nipples and in the glands that make milk (lobules). This life-threatening disease affects mostly women, but also more and more men. Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the world. 

There are many factors that lead to cancer and any nutritional and lifestyle approach to prevent it must address them all. Anti-cancer nutritional program has three goals:
  • strengthen the immune system
  • avoid or neutralize carcinogens
  • protect DNA and prevent cellular damage
Even with all the advances in both, the diagnostic medicine and the pharmaceutical technology, the mortality rate for breast cancer remains very high. And while the medical establishment still quarrels about the role of food in the disease genealogy and prevention, the nutritionists are aware of the fact that nutrients have been used to cure and prevent disease since thousands of years. And although nutrition cannot be the sole cure for cancer, healthy nutrition, rich in fresh fruit and vegetable, contributes to a stronger immune system and overall well being. 

Food compounds that have very high cancer-preventive potential are investigated in laboratory setting of many serious research institutions.

The anti breast-cancer diet should include high doses of:
  • vitamin D 
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin C 
  • calcium D-glucarate 
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • oleic acid
  • power foods such as pomegranate and raspberries
  • cruciferous vegetables rich in the cancer fighting indole-3-carbinole
  • curcumin found in Indian curry
  • green tea
  • graviola (soursop) 
  • soy isoflavones
  • flax rich in lingans
  • medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake and maitake
The above listed foods and supplements contain compounds that may act synergistically to promote breast health. Although the mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood, most of these compounds are very potent antioxidants and appear to promote apoptosis, or programmed cell death thus "exterminating" cancerous cells in the breast tissue. Some of them also reduce inflammation as well as the proliferation of blood vessels to the tumor, and even stop the metastasis or spread of cancerous cells in the body.

These potent foods act in synergy and prevent the DNA damage, inhibit growth and reproduction of cancerous cells in the body and help reduce inflammation. Consuming them on regular bases and adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet, and removing at the same time all foods that contain preservatives, additives, sugar, hydrogenated and saturated fat, and too much salt, should help your body to detoxify, alkalize and maintain proper pH balance. This is important step in cancer prevention as cancers cannot grow in alkaline condition.

Changes in your diet will also help you to lose weight, if you need to, and keep the weight off. Remember that obesity is one of the greatest risk factors for breast cancer and the lowest survival rate after the cancer have been treated.

If you suffer from hypothyroidism, make sure that you bring your thyroid hormones back to normal levels. Hypothyroidism precedes most breast disease. By taking control of this problem as soon as it appears, you will decrease your risk of developing breast cancer.

Learn how to do your own breast self-examination and perform it on a regular basis. A great majority of lumps are detected by the women themselves!

Advanced breast cancer does not respond well to therapy. Prevention is more important than ever. Implementing healthy eating habits and understanding how your nutrition affects your body, reducing saturated fat consumption, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and exercising at least three to four times a week, is vital and will help you maintain a strong immune system.

And don't forget that a positive outlook is as important as your nutrition for your immune system to stay strong and your body to heal and repair all the damage that happens on cellular level long before any disease can be diagnosed.

By Dominique Allmon


*Information in this article is for educational purposes only! It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

5-Step Breast Self-Exam

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How to Prevent Breast Cancer by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.