Exercising is good for your health, we all know that, but its benefits go past that. October marks the beginning of Breast cancer awareness month, when everything just turns pink for 30 days. According to current statistics, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime, and every 13 minutes someone loses the fight. Pretty scary. That’s why prevention is crucial.
On top of knowing your risk factors, the symptoms and doing your self exams, study suggests that regular exercise can reduce the risk of recurrence, as well as giving you a better chance of not having breast cancer at all. It boosts your energy, reduces the side effects of treatment and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Here are some little nutritional helpers that have cancer fighting properties. Make sure to include them in your diet.
Antioxidants. Many vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other foods contain antioxidants such as broccoli, liver, and mangoes. They protect your cells from damage.
Beta-carotene. Beta-carotene gives carrots, apricots, yams, and other vegetables and fruits their orange color. Consuming foods high in beta-carotene may reduce your risk of cancer.
Lycopene is what puts the red in tomatoes and the pink in grapefruit. It might also help prevent recurrence of breast cancer.
On top of adding them to your diet, here are some general guidelines you should follow for an anti-cancer diet.
- Eat low-fat protein rather than high-fat meats.
- Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. And I’m not talking about bottled juices and blends that promise to get your servings in. Go for fresh and organic.
- Avoid processed meats. If you read the ingredients, I bet half of them are things you’ve never even heard of, or can pronounce. Now why would you put that in your body?
- Eat whole-grains and brown rice, rather than white bread and white rice.
- Cut back on alcohol. Limit yourself to one to two drinks a day. Even there make sure it’s not a mixed drink filled with sugar or artificial coloring.
Proper education is key. There are plenty of sources on the web that provide ample information on the disease, prevention, support groups etc. Here are your basics breast cancer facts from “Mayo Clinic”
- Being female. Women are much more likely than men are to develop breast cancer.
- Increasing age. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age.
- A personal history of breast cancer. If you’ve had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
- A family history of breast cancer. If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly at a young age, your risk of breast cancer is increased. Still, the majority of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
- Inherited genes that increase cancer risk. Certain gene mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer can be passed from parents to children. The most common gene mutations are referred to as BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes can greatly increase your risk of breast cancer and other cancers, but they don’t make cancer inevitable.
- Radiation exposure. If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, your risk of breast cancer is increased.
- Obesity. Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.
- Beginning your period at a younger age. Beginning your period before age 12 increases your risk of breast cancer.
- Beginning menopause at an older age. If you began menopause at an older age, you’re more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Having your first child at an older age. Women who give birth to their first child after age 35 may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Having never been pregnant. Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of breast cancer than do women who have had one or more pregnancies.
- Postmenopausal hormone therapy. Women who take hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer decreases when women stop taking these medications.
- Drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.
Your self-exam “how to” guide. It only takes about five minutes. Don’t be lazy about it.
And finally, check out my friend, Caitlin Brodnick’s story in “Screw you cancer!” Caitlin tested positive for BRCA1 gene mutation, the same gene Angelina Jolie carries, and opted for a double mastectomy as a preventative measure. BRCA1 makes your chances of getting breast cancer during your lifetime significantly higher. In her docu series you can follow her from decision, through surgery to post-op life. Caitlin’s always been a happy, bubbly person and her whole journey is very honest and nothing short of inspiring. http://www.glamour.com/contributors/caitlin-brodnick
Follow these guidlines, know your body and these breast cancer facts. Stay informed to maximize your chances for a healthy, cancer-free life. Fight cancer first with prevention by passing this along to all your loved ones.