There aren’t many things in life scarier than “the big C.” According to the CDC, breast cancer is now the second most common form of cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 300,000 women will be diagnosed in 2022 alone. The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is age. The longer we live, the more opportunities there are for genetic damage (mutations) in the body. As we age, our bodies are also less capable of repairing genetic damage.
While mainstream medicine dismisses this as part of the “normal” aging process, the truth is there are other reasons why cancer risk increases as we age. There are over 80,000 chemicals approved for commercial use in the United States. Some of these chemicals are referred to as “forever chemicals.” This means that once they enter our bodies, they bioaccumulate (build up) over time and NEVER BREAK DOWN. The longer we’re alive, the more chemicals we acumulate, and the more time they have to inflict damage.
Many forever chemicals are known or likely to cause cancer—these are called carcinogens. Some disrupt hormonal processes, causing changes in breast tissue that make it more vulnerable to cancer. Others upset the normal checks and balances that repair or kill damaged cells. Most toxins are fat soluble, meaning they get stored in fat cells, and our breasts have an abundance of fatty tissue. This is one reason why cancer is more likely to develop in this area. Many women also suffer from estrogen dominance, or an over abundance of estrogen. When estrogen gets too high, it can trigger inappropriate tissue growth and cell replication. This is why we tend to see rates of ovarian cysts/PCOS, fibocystic breasts, endometriosis, and other growths in the body with estrogen dominance. Over time, estrogen can also stimulate replication of cancer cells in breast tissue.
While early detection is certainly important, we can’t really call this a “preventative” measure because the cancer is already there. So how do we truly prevent breast cancer? We reduce our exposure to carcinogens (chemicals linked to cancer) and we support our body’s ability to control cell damage and mutations. Things you can start doing TODAY include:
- Go organic. Pesticides such as glyphosate (aka Round Up) are classified as Group 2A carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), meaning they are “probably carcinogenic to humans.” While many are familiar with the use of Round Up on lawns, did you know farmers also spray it on your food? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that a chemical that requires protective equipment to spray due to risk of damage to eyes, skin, and lungs probably shouldn’t be EATEN. USDA organic products prohibit the use of glyphosate and other harmful chemicals in the growing process.
- Eat more antioxidant rich foods. Antioxidants help to “deactivate” unstable molecules in the body that can damage healthy cells and fuel cancer growth. We recommend 5-6 cups of organic fruits and vegetables (mainly vegetables) per day. The average American doesn’t even hit 2. Dark leafy greens (kale, chard, arugula, collards, mustard greens, etc) are especially rich in antioxidants. Cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, etc.) offer additional cancer fighting properties.
- Ditch the sugar. Sugar (especially refined sugars added to packaged foods) feeds cancer cells. Focus on low sugar foods like organic meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, gluten free grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. Low sugar fruits like berries tend to be fine too, but check with your healthcare provider.
- Avoid drinking out of or cooking with plastic. When plastic heats up, it breaks down. This releases carcinogenic chemicals such as BPA and pthalates into your food and water. Thin plastic water bottles sit in warehouses and trucks that may not be temperature regulated, raising the risk of exposure to heat. Swap plastic water bottles for glass or metal, and choose glass, ceramic, or stainless steel for cooking. NEVER microwave in plastic, always transfer food or beverages to a ceramic or glass dish first.
- Drink filtered water only. Tap water contains heavy metals, glyphosate, and many other chemicals that are linked to cancer. Levels of PFAS in Denver drinking water are especially concerning. Once PFAS chemicals enter the human body, they bioaccumulate andnever break down. PFAS in drinking water have been linked to various forms of cancer, infertility, low birthweight, endocrine (hormone) disruption, high cholesterol and weight gain. Studies have found PFAS in 98% of American blood samples, and Denver babies are born with these “forever chemicals” already in their bodies.
- Switch over to more natural personal care and beauty products. The average American woman applies between 200-500 chemicals to her body on a daily basis. While the European Union has banned over 1,300 chemicals from beauty products, the FDA has banned or restricted ONLY 11. Many of the chemicals still allowed have been classified as carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, pthalates, parabens, and artificial fragrances. The aluminum in deodorants is also concerning- it’s a known carcinogen, plus it’s applied close to breast tissue.