Reduce your Risk

Traditionally, there are hereditary breast cancer risk factors that a person cannot change, and lifestyle factors that you can manage.  In fact, a woman has far more control over her chances of developing breast cancer than traditionally considered.  The following recommendations are only a very brief introduction to the possibilities for reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. 

  1. Test the state of estrogen metabolism in your body and ensure a predominance of the weaker, protective estrogen called estriol. Traditionally, women are told that if they started menstruating early in life (before age 11), did not experience pregnancy, had menstrual cycles shorter than 25 days, and experienced a late menopause (after age 52), they are at increased risk of developing breast cancer.  These factors are linked to a woman’s lifetime exposure to estrogen.  Specialized testing available through a naturopathic doctor may help you evaluate the consequences of this exposure by exploring how well your body protects itself from harmful estrogens.  This may include evaluating liver health, thyroid health, and progesterone hormone levels.  

  2. Complete a mild liver cleanse at least twice a year that targets efficient metabolism and elimination of estrogens and waste products.   Enzymes in the liver prepare estrogens for excretion into the intestine.  Many other substances use the same enzyme pathways so regular cleansing and a nutritious diet help to keep these pathways moving smoothly.  The liver is also responsible for protecting you from harmful chemicals absorbed from your environment (e.g. pesticides, phthalates, bisphenols in plastics) that can impact hormone balance.  Many environmental toxins are scientifically linked to increased breast cancer risk.

  3. Sleep well!  Our bodies release the hormone melatonin during the night, which helps to inhibit breast cancer cell growth.  Shift work, insomnia, and poor sleep habits have all been linked to increased breast cancer risk.

  4. Examine your spiritual self.  Many ancient medicines equate breast cancer with spiritual concerns regarding self-care and nurturance.  Mainstream medical science proves links between stress, our perception of stress, and our risk for developing cancer.  Practicing regular visualizations, meditation, or yoga has been associated with decreased risk of cancer development.