I used to fear breast cancer. After my health crisis I learned that I can minimize my risk by choosing a proactive lifestyle.
I have been on high alert for breast cancer since entering adulthood. My mother and both grandmothers had breast cancer. After 20 years of living in fear of my genetics, I learned that I can do more than just hope for the best.
Recent research suggests gene expression is highly connected with environmental factors. The field of epigenetics has shown such great promise that the National Institutes of Health has formed the Roadmap Epigenetics Project.
I’m not ready to wait for science to tell me what my intuition tells me – that building my immune system and paying attention to environmental factors can make a difference.
Eight ways I am minimizing my risk of breast cancer:
1. Limit my exposure to toxins
I stay away from any and all chemicals. This includes pesticides, synthetic fragrances like plug-ins, and cleaning products.
I also avoid toxic mold. After our family’s experience I understand the significance of high indoor mold counts and the need for vigilance when it comes to water leaks and water intrusions.
One of the more widely known species of mold, aspergillus, metabolizes the mycotoxin aflatoxin, recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen. Another fungal mycotoxin Ochratoxin A, has been implicated in a study of environmental breast cancer triggers. (Learn more about the study here.)
2. Remain meticulous about my diet
Sugar feeds pathogens in our bodies. I avoid sugar in all forms, including high carbohydrate starches. I adhere to a grain-free, nutrient-dense diet with an emphasis on greens, fermented foods and healthy fat.
I continue to tweak my diet as I monitor which foods are best for my unique constitution. I also fast frequently for short periods of time, to give my body the opportunity to clear itself on a regular basis.
3. Boost my glutathione
Glutathione (GSH) is a major player when it comes to our detox system. Glutathione deficiency has been shown to be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer. (See Role of Glutathione in Cancer Progression and Chemoresistance.)
Foods shown to stimulate glutathione production include broccoli sprouts, milk thistle, bioactive whey protein and foods high in sulfur.
I avoid oral glutathione supplements as they tend to be poorly absorbed. Nebulized glutathione or glutathione suppositories may be better options.
I include coffee enemas in my healing regimen as they have been shown to stimulate the liver to detoxify and boost glutathione levels. For more on coffee enemas, see The Health Benefits of Coffee Enemas.
4. Wear loose-fitting bras or no bra at all
It makes sense to me that tight-fitting clothing, especially a bra, can constrict the valuable lymph tissue from flushing toxins from the body. I wear only organic cotton bras to further limit my contact with petroleum-based chemicals.
A controversial study linking bras with breast cancer is documented in the book Dressed to Kill by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer.
5. Practice dry skin brushing regularly
Skin brushing stimulates the lymphatic tissue to do its job of clearing toxins. It’s one of the simplest yet most effective ways to detoxify and boost the immune system. As a bonus it softens your skin, and is especially beneficial for aging skin.
For more details, including methods and sources, see The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing.
6. Use only personal care products that are safe enough to eat
Synthetic deodorants and antiperspirants containing aluminum have been linked to breast cancer. The underarm contains key lymph tissue. Why take a chance?
7. Spend time outdoors
I try to spend a minimum of 1 hour a day outside with no sunglasses or eyeglasses. Cancer prevention is one of the biggest reasons. (See Why I No Longer Wear Sunglasses.)
In his book Light, Radiation, and You, photo biologist Dr. John Ott mentions the empirical work of cancer researcher Dr. Jane Wright. In the summer of 1959, Wright instructed her terminal cancer patients to avoid artificial light and stay outdoors as much as possible without sunglasses or prescription lenses, Wright found improvement in 14 of the 15 patients. One patient’s health deteriorated as noted by Ott,
“She had stopped wearing sunglasses, but continued to wear her regular prescription glasses, which blocked the transmission of the ultraviolet portion of the natural sunlight spectrum from entering the eyes.”
Ott sought funding for continued research but his requests were continually rejected.
More recent research notes the correlation between vitamin D levels, latitude, race and cancer rates. See The Role of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention.
8. Limit EMF exposure
I continue to modify my exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have taken over our culture with little regard to health impacts. The more I learn, the more convinced I am the Precautionary Principle is a better way to go.
The Precautionary Principle states that when the health of humans is at stake, it may not be necessary to wait for scientific certainty to take protective action.
We have reduced WI-FI in our home, transitioned to corded phones, switched to photoelectric smoke alarms and more. (See From Wireless to Wired – Our Family’s Journey.) The good news when it comes to EMF exposure is that there are lots of little changes that potentially offer great benefit.
There are other factors, of course, such as reduced stress, positive mindset and emotional well-being that I try to embrace, knowing that there are no guarantees for any of us when it comes to breast cancer or any other diagnosis. I simply do the best with what I know at the time and remain open to new ideas as I continue to take life -and my health journey – one day at a time.