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Preventing Breast Cancer

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Minimize your risk with a few, simple lifestyle changes.

By Allison Cochran PA-C, MPAS, New Vitality Medical

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every time I see a pink ribbon, I am reminded of all of those needlessly lost to this disease every year. As a medical professional in the field of anti-aging and preventative medicine, I want to offer some advice that can reduce one’s risk of breast cancer. It is time we place more emphasis on breast cancer prevention. Evidence from a wide array of medical studies has identified certain lifestyle and behavioral factors that affect our breast cancer risk. Simply put, this means there are certain things we can all do to minimize the risk of getting breast cancer.

Below is a list of 10 preventative measures to lower your risk of breast cancer:

1) Get your hormones balanced. As we age, our bodies lose the ability to produce adequate hormone levels. Having optimal progesterone levels to balance out estrogen is very important in lowering a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

2) Eat more cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. Studies show cruciferous vegetables contain the enzyme indole-3-carbinol, which helps to reduce risk of breast cancer.

3) Maintain a healthy weight. Excess body fat has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. It is recommended to eat a low-sugar diet, which helps the body burn fat more efficiently and helps boost your immune system.

4) Consume high-quality omega-3 fatty acids, either through diet or Fish oil supplements.

5) Avoid xenoestrogens (synthetic and natural compounds that imitate estrogen in the human body), which can be found in items such as fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides, plastic water bottles, nail polish, makeup, and cleaning products. Xenoestrogens are a type of endocrine disruptor that have estrogen-like effects and disrupt your body’s hormone balance. To lower exposure, you should avoid pesticides and herbicides, choose organic foods, reduce use of plastics, and avoid skincare and cleaning items that have toxic ingredients.

6) Optimize your vitamin D level. Studies show a level above 60 ng/ mL is the ideal level for decreasing risk of breast cancer. This level can be tested by a simple blood test.

7) Get regular breast screenings because early detection is critical. New Vitality Medical provides breast thermography, the painless, no-radiation option to screen for breast disease.

8) Avoid using antiperspirants or deodorants that contain aluminum.

9) Have your estrogen metabolism tested. Estrogen is metabolized in two ways. Along one pathway, it is converted into a powerful metabolite, 16alpha-hydroxyestrone (16alpha-OHE1). Levels of 16alpha-OHE1 can rise in response to obesity, alcohol consumption, and toxic exposure. High levels of this potent metabolite are linked with increased risk of breast cancer.

Alternately, the body can break down estrogen into a much weaker metabolite, called 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1). This metabolite binds weakly to cell receptors and may slow cancer growth. A proper balance between 2-OHE1 and 16alpha-OHE1 is the key to optimal health.

10) Add green tea, pomegranate, and curcumin (found in Turmeric) into your diet. Studies show these compounds lower breast cancer risk, among other health benefits.

New Vitality Medical (newvitalitymedical.com) specializes in preventative medicine and hormone balancing for men and women over the age of 30. Our programs are tailored to supplement your specific deficiencies in a concierge medical practice setting, where our physicians are available to you all the time. We can assess your risk and customize a plan specific to your needs. By balancing hormones, optimizing nutrition, and testing for specific lab markers, we can come up with a plan for PREVENTION.