Breast Cancer Prevention – the ultimate Avoid List

This Breast Cancer Awareness month, do better for yourself and the women in your life. Find out about the potential causes of breast cancer, and say no.

At IKCA, we believe the best cure for cancer, is prevention. That’s why an early diagnosis for breast cancer, simply isn’t good enough. Self-examination and regular mammography screenings are vital, don’t neglect them! But don’t rely on them entirely. Because there are steps you can take which could mean the difference between early diagnosis and no diagnosis at all.

Enough science and research has gone into rooting out the usual suspects: the carcinogens and poor life-style choices which cause and/or make us more susceptible to cancer. Here’s our comprehensive AVOID List. It may save lives.

Avoid stress through exercise

Many of us are exhausted at the end of a busy day, so who can be bothered to exercise? And with such hectic daily schedules, who can afford to make the time? Let’s change this mindset now. Exercise isn’t a luxury, only for people who want to stay trim and look good. It’s a necessity for everyone, particularly those with a high-stress life-style.

‘Stress’ is the operative word here, and particularly the chronic kind. Stress produces hormones as part of our body’s fight or flight response, which can save your life in critical or dangerous situations. But if you’re not running or fighting, then all that excess energy can eventually cause negative effects. These include:

  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Weight gain
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Digestive problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety and depression
  • High blood pressure

Stress hormones, like cortisol, suppress the immune system, making you more prone to illness. Studies even propose that prolonged exposure to stress related cortisol can increase breast cancer risk. And in the case of people who have beaten cancer once, it can cause cancer to return, by waking up dormant cancer cells.

Exercise can reduce stress hormones. It’s an ideal way to flush out energy and tension build-up from stress, and normalise high blood-sugar levels caused by stress. Exercise also stimulates endorphins -the body’s natural mood booster and pain killer hormones. So even though it’ll get your heart racing, the irony is that exercise can help you relax and avoid stress.

Avoid Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)

Many synthetic chemicals have been linked to cancer, but have you heard of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), found in household products?

The evidence against EDCs is mounting up. A large amount of scientific data now strongly suggests that exposure to EDCs increase our vulnerability to cancer. These chemicals are believed to be causing long-term, sometimes irreversible damage to our health and environment. Here are some EDCs that exist in common household products, which you can avoid:

  • Plastics and Tins: From food packaging to dental filings, plastics are now everywhere. Most will contain BPA and Phthalates.
  • Cosmetics and Fragrances: The word ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on a label means Phthalates and/or Synthetic Musks. Other EDCs found in cosmetics are Parabens, used as preservatives, and Triclosan, which often exits in toothpastes and hand-washes for anti-bacterial purposes.
  • Cleaning Products: Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals containing Synthetic Musks and Phthalates.
  • Pesticides: Linked to hormone disruption, Pesticides are part and parcel of industrial farming, leaving residues in our food and showing up in water through field run-off.

And there are some more EDCs you should know about. For a more in-depth list, along with tips on how you can avoid EDCs, check out our blog Say ‘No’ to EDCs.

Avoid obesity

It goes without saying that consuming a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants is a sure-fire way to keep healthy and avoid cancer. But maintaining a healthy BMI might just be even more important.

Obesity is the root of many potentially fatal health problems including cancer. Obese people often have chronic, low level inflammation. This, over time, can cause DNA damage, which can cause cancer cells.

Another way that obesity causes cancer is due to high levels of oestrogen. Fat tissue produces excess amounts of oestrogen. Having high levels of oestrogen has been linked to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and others.

We hate to repeat what’s been said a million times, but there really is no other way around this: Eat healthy. Cut out the junk. Embrace a regular exercise routine.

Avoid ignorance

Ignorance can be a killer when it comes to cancer. For example, many people think that only older women get breast cancer. This is not true. In the UK, over 10,000 women under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with breast cancer every year. To save lives, we need to address this kind of misinformation and stomp out ignorance.

It’s vital for every woman to educate herself about cancer. Particularly those who are affected by the non-modifiable risk factors. These are the things you cannot change, like your age, ethnicity and genetic background, which can make you more susceptible to certain diseases. Here are some of them:

  • A family history of breast cancer (possessing breast cancer associated genes BRCA 1 and Delayed first child bearing (after the age of 30), or no chid bearing at all
  • A late onset of menopause (after the age of 50)
  • An early onset of periods (before the age of 12)

If you are effected by any of the above then you must learn how to do a breast self-examination. Also get in touch with your doctor if you haven’t already started getting regular mammograms. Getting a mammogram every year can help early detection. Remember, breast cancer, if detected early, is very curable.

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