Prevention Before Detection
Breast cancer detection is on the minds of women at every age. There are pink ribbons everywhere you turn, and the search for a cure is a top priority for many, respectfully so. However, instead of focusing on the detection and cure of breast cancer, let’s instead focus on the prevention of breast cancer. This discussion is timely as October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so in its honor, I’d like to share with you what I have learned over the course of many years practicing and studying medicine, or more importantly health and wellness.
While education on detection is overflowing, we don’t hear much about the prevention of breast cancer so I would like to present you with the tools and knowledge necessary to arm yourself against the disease. You may be familiar with some of the most recent figures: one woman is diagnosed every three minutes according to Susan B. Komen for the Cure; and the World Health Organization reported breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world.
Don’t be discouraged by these alarming figures; there is hope, in 2009 in the largest review of research into lifestyle and breast cancer, the American Institute of Cancer Research estimated about 40 percent of U.S. breast cancer cases every year could be prevented by making lifestyle changes. Rather than living in fear of becoming the next breast cancer statistic, take control of your health, and learn how you can help to prevent it before you ever need to be in a position to cure it.
What you can do
Numerous studies have shown a dramatically lower risk in women who have incorporated the following into their lifestyle:
• Exercise regularly: The ideal amount would be 30 minutes a day. Your emotional state affects your overall health, and exercise relieves stress. Also, even in thin women, exercise helps turn more of the body’s fat into muscle, which can help reduce cancer risk.
• Breast-feed: there’s convincing evidence that supports a reduced risk for breast cancer among mothers who breast-feed for up to six months.
• Limit your alcohol consumption.
• Optimal vitamin D levels: which are found in few, has been shown to decrease risk up to 70 percent. You can ask your physician to check your vitamin D level to see if you need to supplement with a good, high quality vitamin.
• A healthy diet loaded with fruits and vegetables that is primarily plant based.
• Maintain healthy progesterone levels: if you have low levels of progesterone, you can supplement with bioidentical progesterone.
• Detoxification: detoxify your body of chemicals regularly. One way to achieve this is by adding N-acetyl cysteine and selenium to your supplement regimen.
• Maintaining a healthy weight: Oftentimes breast cancer is fueled by the hormone estrogen, which is produced in fat tissue. It’s suspected that the more excess body weight a woman has, the more estrogen she produces as well, which places her at an increased risk for breast cancer.
• Supplement with high quality omega-3 fats, such as fish oil.
On the contrary, the following increase your breast cancer risk and should be avoided:
• Oral contraceptive use.
• Synthetic or counterfeit hormones of any kind such as Premarin or Prempro.
• A diet high in saturated fats.
• Avoid chemical toxicity, which can commonly be found in household cleaning products and beauty products.
• Avoid breast tissue damage. Mammograms and biopsies can both damage your breast tissue, and cell damage of this kind can lead to the formation of cancer cells. If there is no cause for concern, these methods are questionable.
• Hormonal decline, which naturally declines as we age, or can be triggered during certain stages of life, such as after childbirth, menopause and puberty.
• Overweight: Obese women are up to 60 percent more likely to develop any cancer than normal-weight women.
Fact vs. Fiction
• Hormones increase your risk for developing cancer.
• Bioidentical hormones do NOT increase your risk, however on the other hand, counterfeit hormones have been linked with an increase in cancer. The difference between bioidentical hormones and counterfeit (synthetic) is huge and widely misunderstood. Bioidentical hormones are an identical molecular match to the hormones produced by your body. On the contrary, counterfeit hormones’ (such as Premarin and Prempro) molecular structure has been changed in order to be patented by pharmaceutical companies. This molecular change makes counterfeit hormones foreign chemicals to your body, which in turn can cause a host of side effects.
• In cases when detection is needed, mammograms are your only option.
• False, a safe alternative to mammography is thermography.
• Family history of breast cancer puts you at a far greater risk.
• This isn’t necessary true. You don’t have to be held captive to your family genes. In fact, statistics show that only about 20 to 30 percent of breast cancer diagnoses among women actually have a family history. You can make healthy lifestyle changes, such as the ones discussed above, which will likely assist with the expression of your genes in a positive, disease-fighting way.
Beyond early detection, let’s learn to take charge of our own health and destiny today.
Steven F. Hotze, M.D., is the founder and CEO of Hotze Health & Wellness Center, Physician’s Preference and Hotze Pharmacy. He is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy; former president of the Pan American Allergy Society; founder/president of the American Academy of Biologically Identical Hormone Therapy.
Dr. Hotze’s radio program, “Health and Wellness Solutions”, airs Monday-Friday on KSEV 700 AM from 12-1 p.m. CST, or online, www.drhotze.com/. Follow Dr. Hotze on Twitter: twitter.com/DoctorHotze. Friend Dr. Hotze on Facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Hotze/102560402