Breast Cancer--Top 10 Prevention
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Last updated April 24, 2017, originally published April 24, 2010

By Katrina Devine, Contributing Columnist and Susan
Callahan, Health Editor

Among women, the survivors of breast cancer form a grim
sorority. It doesn’t matter if you are a country singer, TV
star, Olympian or even a former First Lady of the United
States --- breast cancer can strike you.

The roll call of women who have had breast cancer includes
Robin Roberts of ABC's "Good Morning America" show,
singer Sheryl Crow. Two former First Ladies were diagnosed
with breast cancer, Betty Ford and Nancy Reagan. In fact,
First Lady Betty Ford in 1973 became one of the first women
to speak openly about the disease. She opened the door for
awareness campaigns that saved countless lives. Men, too,
can develop breast cancer. Notably, George Lucas, the
producer of "Star Wars" and former Senator Edward Brooke
of Massachusetts had breast cancer.

Though stopping breast cancer has been a national
movement for many years, shocking numbers of women
continue to die from the disease every year. According to the
National Cancer Institute, in the United States 192,379 new
cases of breast cancer were diagnosed and 40,170 women
lost their lives to the disease in 2009. In 2015, the American
Cancer Society estimates that 231,840 women will be
diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,290 will die from the

What if anything can be done to stop this alarming trend?

A study published in the journal of the National Cancer
Institute in 1995 found that only 5% of breast cancer
patients have a hereditary link. A joint study by the World
Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer
Research published in 2009 found that 40% of breast cancer
cases are preventable through certain lifestyle changes.

Below we have 10 tips that may help prevent breast cancer:

Eat right: The World Cancer Research Fund makes several
recommendations for foods that they found to be beneficial
in preventing breast cancer, in particular whole grain foods
and vegetables. Whole grain bread or pasta is a better
option because the way that grains are processed to make
white bread or pasta makes them unhealthy for the body.

It’s no surprise vegetables are healthy for us but when it
relates to breast cancer prevention, cruciferous vegetables,
such as cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower,
are particularly good.

The World Cancer research Fund also made
recommendations of things to avoid: fizzy sugary drinks, red
meat and processed meat, foods that are high in fat like
potato chips and cookies.

New research has discovered another food that can help to
fight breast cancer are walnuts. A 2009 study from Marshall
University School of Medicine found that
mice that were fed
walnuts experienced a 50% lower rate of breast cancer.


Oregano contains a compound which causes breast cancer
cells to "suicide" themselves, studies have found.  The
cancer-fighting compound in oregano is called "carvatrol". A
2010 study from the Institute of Life Sciences, University of
Hyderabad Campus in India tested carvacrol's ability to
inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells which has
metasticized.  Carvacrol, the study found, "clearly
demonstrated anti-tumor effects of carvacrol on human
metastatic breast cancer ".  

While oregano is not a "cure" for breast cancer, it belongs in
the arsenal of strategies for battling this disease.]

Stay away from extra hormones or chemicals: According
to the Centers for Disease Control over production of
estrogen is a leading cause of breast cancer. Therefore it
stands to reason that avoiding products that are high in
hormones or other chemicals is effective to reducing breast
cancer risk.  

Even multi-vitamins can raise your risk for breast cancer. A
study completed by McGill University in Montreal found that
multi-vitamins can be linked to increased breast density and
therefore to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

A study at the Technical University of Denmark in 2008
linked the chemical "acrylamide" and breast cancer.
Acrylamide is found in carbohydrates that are fried, roasted,
grilled or baked. Examples include French fries, potato chips,
grilled toast, roasted potatoes.

Our food supply may also play a role in increasing our risk
for breast cancer. Certain animals are injected with
hormones to make them produce more or tastier meat. It is
important to limit intake of meat and fish to reduce the levels
of hormones in your body.

Work out Regularly: The World Cancer Research Fund
recommends 30 minutes of vigorous activity per day.
Unfortunately that’s on top of the 30 minutes daily you
should be getting anyway to keep yourself fit. Walking up
the stairs instead of taking the elevator is not enough
according to the American Cancer Society. But brisk walking
for 45-60 minutes is highly recommended.

Any kind of cardiovascular exercise has been shown to boost
the immune system. The World Cancer Research Fund
recommends walking, swimming, cycling and dancing. The
most important thing is to ensure that you are putting in
enough effort, at moderate level you should be slightly out
of breath but able to carry on a conversation.

Slim down: Maintaining your ideal weight is a good
protection against breast cancer. In 2006 the American
Cancer Society released a report which said that women who
were overweight had a greater risk of breast cancer. The
study looked at 44,000 women and found that the more
weight that a woman gained the more likely she was to
suffer from breast cancer.

The breast cancer risk is more than 3 times higher for
women who gain 60 pounds or more. The risk is also
increased in post-menopausal women. The extra fat
produces extra estrogen, the breast cancer causing
hormone. Those who tend to carry their weight around their
waist need to be particularly concerned and look at their diet
and exercise routine.  

Stop smoking. We’ve all heard them been called cancer
sticks so it’s no surprise to see cigarettes on this list. You
might be doing others harm as well as yourself when you
light up.  The EPA of California in 2005 released a report that
said their research had led them to believe that second-hand
smoke had a relationship to the development of pre-
menopausal women.

Stop drinking: The Kaiser Permanente Medical Care
Program, Oakland conducted the largest ever study into the
effects of alcohol and breast cancer in 2007. They found that
if you had more than 3 or more alcoholic drinks per day you
are at a 30% higher risk of breast cancer. It does not matter
whether it is wine, beer or spirits it is the amount of alcohol.


A new 2013 study from a group of institutions led by Boston
University Medical School has found that even moderate
drinking increases a woman's risk for breast cancer.
According to the study, 15% of all breast cancer deaths are
attributable to alcohol.  
Drinking very little alcohol --- as little
1.5 drinks a day ---can increases your risk of cancer

What about Europeans, you may ask? Don't they drink more
alcohol than Americans and yet they have longer lifespans?
The study dispelled that myth. Yes,
Europeans live longer
than Americans and Canadians but they do so despite
drinking more because they have such healthy lifestyles.
Europeans are more physically active and have healthier
diets. If you isolate the cancer deaths in Europe, the study
found that alcohol is responsible for more cancer deaths on
a percentage basis in Europe than in America.

The bottom line is, if you are concerned about your breast
cancer risk, don't drink. Don't drink even a little bit.

The study, one of the most important of its kind, was a joint
project of the National Cancer Institute, Boston University
Medical School, the Alcohol Research Group, Public Health
Institute, the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health. ]

Get enough sleep:  A study completed in 2001 by the Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle found that there
is a relation between lack of exposure to daylight and the
development of breast cancer. They found working a
graveyard shift increased risk by 60%. The link is thought to
be due to the body’s production of melatonin which is
important as an antioxidant and for the immune system. It is
developed in darkness therefore if the body doesn’t sleep at
night when it is dark then melatonin does not develop fully.

Visit our
Sleep Center for the latest recommendations for
improving your the quality of your sleep.

Get broody early: Exercising your fertility early in life helps
to reduce your risk for breast cancer. The National Cancer
Institute explains how pregnancy and giving birth can affect
your breast cancer risk. The younger a woman is when she
gives birth the less likely she is to develop breast cancer in
later life. A woman who has her first child after the age of 35
doubles her risk. It is also suggested that women who have
more than two children at a young age also lessen there risk.
Also the NCI recommends breast feeding as there is a link to
breast feeding and decreased risk.

Don’t get stressed: A Queen’s University study in 2008
found a link between severe stress and breast cancer. When
some one is stressed certain hormones are at work in the
brain and the hormone called hydrocortisone interferes with
our body’s natural tumor suppressant a gene called BRCA1.

Here are some
tips and foods that help you reduce stress.

Be breast aware: Due to their genes or other
unchangeable risk factors some women will not be able to
prevent breast cancer but you can improve your chances of
survival by being breast aware. With cancer early detection
is key.

The American Cancer Society recommends that you should
have a clinical breast exam with your regular health check up
at least every three years. This should be in conjunction with
your own checks weekly or daily or maybe just every time
you have a shower.

Check your breasts for abnormalities and see a doctor if you
notice anything strange. Women over 40 need regular


New research has found a surprising connection between
eating garlic and the incidence of breast cancer.
Eating garlic
can apparently reduce your risk for developing breast cancer.

Curcumin spice has also been extensively studied for its
effect on breast cancer. Curcumin inhibits the proliferation of
breast cancer cells and triggers a process that makes these
cells enter an early death phase called apoptosis, according
to a 2015 study from scientists at Texas Southern University.

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Olivia Newton John, the
Australian born singer, is a breast
cancer survivor.
Eating broccoli and other fresh vegetables
can help prevent breast cancer, studies