Health Alert

What Are You Doing To Prevent Breast Cancer?


How many times do we read something in the paper or see a news item and realize that we’ve been eating something or not eating something or doing something or not doing something that can have a big effect on our health? Happens to me all the time.

That’s why I was so chuffed recently to find out that I’ve been doing several things that could help prevent me from having breast cancer. I watched my mother go through a mastectomy with lymph node resection and it wasn’t something I ever wanted to go through myself, but I must confess that I didn’t give prevention much thought. I guess I thought, like many women, that it’s all a roll of the dice whether we get breast cancer or not.

Well, au contraire to the max, as my daughter says. It turns out that I’m doing several things that might lower my chances of getting breast cancer or give me a better chance of surviving breast cancer if I do develop it. This is a good thing, because, unfortunately, I’m also doing several things that increase my chances of getting it. But, first the good news for me and any of you who are doing these good things.

I drink green tea, take Vitamin D daily, take Black Cohosh for menopausal symptoms and take Omega-3 in addition to eating fish at least twice a week. All of these things are proven to reduce my chances of getting breast cancer. I also eat lots of cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, lightly steamed to preserve their good phytonutrients. I don’t eat much red meat and I try to eat organic produce and naturally raised meat.

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Recent studies have shown that all of these things significantly reduce breast cancer risk, so if you’re not doing them, here’s your chance to change your lifestyle and increase your odds of living to a ripe old age. So, what am I doing – and what may you be doing – that ups our chances of developing breast cancer?

Well, I don’t exercise nearly enough. I spend hours everyday in front of my computer, which is packing on the ol’ pounds. Lack of exercise and being overweight are both risk factors for breast and other cancers. Worse, I drink more than one glass of wine at a time.

I don’t drink everyday – more like Friday night and the occasional dinner out, and I don’t drink more than two glasses, but I should stick with one glass at a time if I want to stay on the safe side. I’m also trying to walk down our half-mile long driveway at least a couple times a week to get the mail. I figure that’s a start toward a more extensive walking campaign, but this is complicated by the start of hunting season here in Maine.

Walking is healthy exercise, but not if people are shooting at you, in the mistaken belief that you’re a deer. Nor is it likely that I’ll continue walking when the snow drifts are over my head in a couple of months. So, I guess I’ll have to join the kids in front of the Wii, which is so much fun that I don’t realize that it’s exercise until my aching muscles let me know about it the next day.

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With all the pink ribbons flying around lately, thoughts of breast cancer are on our minds, so I thought it might be a good time to review some concrete, practical things we can do to keep ourselves healthy. I’m much more in favor of using natural methods to prevent breast cancer, rather than focusing on chemo and radiation and chemicals to “cure” it. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.

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