Reducing the Risk of Breast Cancer
As the exact cause of breast cancer is not known we aren’t able to prevent it at this time and the three main risk factors are things we can do nothing about – age, sex and family history.
The biggest risk for developing breast cancer is being a woman and most breast cancers – around 80% - occur in women over 50. Because breast cancer is unfortunately so common, just having someone in your family that has had cancer does not mean that you are more at risk. However, around 5% of breast cancers are due to an altered gene that is passed on and this is classed as a significant family history. If you are worried about your family history you should talk to your doctor who may refer you to a genetics specialist.
There are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer however. Improving your general wellbeing through diet and lifestyle has been shown to lower the risk.
Evidence-based Tips To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk:
• Adopt a Mediterranean diet.
• Limit alcohol consumption to a maximum of one glass of wine per day.
• Optimise body weight and undertake regular exercise (20 minutes daily).
• Minimise the intake of red meat, processed meat, pure animal fat, eggs (up to 3 per week and preferably organic) sugar, artificial sweeteners and sweets.
• Use honey as a sweetener.
• Low fat dairy products are safe and low fat yogurt seems to protect against breast cancer.
• Expose your skin to natural sunshine for 20 minutes daily, otherwise you must take vitamin D3 supplements.
• Increase the intake of olive oil, garlic, onions, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, tofu, mangos, cherries, apples, berries, pomegranate, strawberries and mushrooms.
• Try not to use hormone replacement therapy after the age of 55 years unless necessary. However, if you opt to take HRT then, Estrogen gel daily combined with Utrogestan 100mg at night (two weeks on and two weeks off) is considered safer than other regimens. Utrogestan is not required in women who have had hysterectomy.
• Increase the intake of brewed caffeinated coffee, dark chocolate (> 85% cocoa), black and green tea.
• Intermittent fasting e.g. overnight fasting from 7pm until 7am.
• Polyphenols and flavonoids (green tea, black tea and fruits)
• Quercetin (black grapes, red raspberries and nectarines)
• Spices: Curcumin (turmeric), chilli spice, black cumin, and black pepper. <
• Sulforaphane, Indole3 carbinol and thiocyanate (cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, kale and cauliflower)
• Lactobacillus (Low fat natural live yoghurt)
Suggestion: Blended drink of fresh orange juice, kale, blueberries strawberries & raspberries
• Vitamin D3 (1,000 international units daily, or 10,000 iu once weekly)
• Optimal blood test level 75-150nmols/L
• Omega 3 (1-2 grams daily)
• Vitamins: B6 (10mg)
Although following these guidelines does not prevent you from getting breast cancer the increased level of health and wellbeing will be able to help lower the overall risk.