I’m sure you are all aware that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How can you miss the pink everything? From yogurt lids, to mixers, to t-shirts; At just about every store in town, Breast Cancer Awareness definitely gets coverage!
You’re probably aware that all women over 20 years old should do self breast exams and have annual clinical breast exams, and that all women over 40 should be getting mammograms every year. Breast exams and mammograms are effective for detecting cancer at an early stage, but what about actually preventing the cancer or slowing growth of tumors?
Breast Cancer Prevention:
There is conclusive research to suggest that things you eat can strengthen your immune system and control the growth of cancer. We know that excess weight gain during adulthood can increase the chances of getting breast cancer after menopause.
The American Institute for Cancer Research has also put together an expert report on nutrition and physical activity as it relates to breast cancer. Here’s what they found specifically for breast cancer:
- Convincing evidence that alcoholic drinks and body fatness increase risk for breast cancer.
- Convincing evidence that breastfeeding decreases risk for breast cancer.
- Probable evidence that physical activity decreases risk for breast cancer.
Those are just the things that have significant evidence and research to back them up. There are many other things that we think are beneficial, but they don’t have the research done yet!
What should you do about it?
Here are the recommendations on what you can do in relation to those areas of lifestyle and breast cancer:
- RECOMMENDATIONS for BODY FATNESS: Ensure that body weight through childhood and adolescent growth projects towards the lower end of the normal BMI range. At age 21 maintain body weight within the normal range and avoid weight gain and increases in waist circumference throughout adulthood.
- RECOMMENDATIONS for ALCOHOLIC DRINKS: If alcoholic drinks are consumed, limit consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
- RECOMMENDATION for BREASTFEEDING: Aim to breastfeed infants exclusively up to six months and continue with complementary feeding thereafter.
- RECOMMENDATION for PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Be moderately physically active, equivalent to brisk walking for at least 30 minutes every day. As fitness improves, aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate, or for 30 minutes or more of vigorous, physical activity every day. Limit sedentary habits such as watching television.
Next time I will give you the 12 specific recommendations that make up the Best Diet for a Health Breast!