Here are the latest tidbits on ways to slash your breast cancer risk as of 2014. The good news is we can all strive to do them right now!
Brush your teeth and keep up with your dental checkups: Seriously! According to Dayton, Ohio, obstetrician/gynecologist Rosalind Jackson, “The connection between breast cancer and oral hygiene is the inflammation. Bacteria can build in your gums, and you can get periodontal disease or cavities in the bone of your tooth and that’s where infection can start and spread.” (1)
Recent studies have shown that women who suffer from poor oral hygiene are at a higher risk of breast cancer; by keeping up with your regular checkups, dentists can spot issues early on and help combat any changes or more serious inflammation later on down the line. (1)
Certain birth control pills may increase breast cancer risk: In a study published in the Cancer Research journal, Elisabeth F. Beaber, PhD, MPH, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center culled information about pill brands, doses and length of time taken from pharmacies. She analyzed data from 1,102 women with breast cancer and compared them to 21,952 control women and found that pills with high estrogen increased breast cancer risk 2.7-fold, while pills with ethynodiol dictate increased risk 2.6-fold. Low-estrogen pills did not increase cancer risk. (2)
For those who’d completely stopped taking birth control, previous studies stated that their risks of developing the disease plummeted, no matter how long they had been on the pill. (2)
Women diagnosed with adult onset Type 2 Diabetes have larger, more aggressive tumors: “We think that hyperinsulinemia — where there are increased levels of insulin circulating in the blood — may encourage the growth of tumour cells by providing them with large amounts of glucose,” said lead researcher Dr. Caterina Fontanella, MD, in a press release. “We therefore believe that strict control of blood sugar levels is essential to the successful treatment of breast cancer.” (2)
Watch your waist and cut your risk: According to a recent Huffington Post article, “Analyzing results from almost 93,000 women, researchers found that going up one skirt size every 10 years was linked to a 33 percent greater risk of breast cancer, while going up two skirt sizes in 10 years was linked to a 77 percent greater risk…Researchers already know that the bigger the waist circumference is, the higher the risk for cancers like colon cancer and cancer of the uterus, as well as health risks like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.” (2)
Extra body fat around our midsection is a high inflammation marker because abdominal fat is believed to be more “metabolically active” than fat in other parts of the body; researchers believe it is what increases our estrogen levels, thus increasing breast tumor growth. (2)
Sleep fights cancer: We all know that good, quality sleep improves our immune systems as well as repairs and rebuilds our entire body, but did you know that it is absolutely crucial to helping fight cancer as well?
According to “The Huffington Post,” another sleep study demonstrated how melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy at night, is absolutely crucial to the success of tamoxifen, a widely-used breast cancer drug. The only problem is that exposing yourself to light from your TV, mobile phone or computer at night shuts off that melatonin production, which in turn could weaken tamoxifen.
“High melatonin levels at night put breast cancer cells to ‘sleep’ by turning off key growth mechanisms,” explained researcher David Blask of Tulane University in a press release. “These cells are vulnerable to tamoxifen, but when the lights are on and melatonin is suppressed, breast cancer cells ‘wake up’ and ignore tamoxifen.”(2)
Women with high levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to survive breast cancer than women with low levels of vitamin D, according to a study published in the journal Anticancer Research. (2)
Women who had a level of 30 nanograms of the vitamin were much more likely to survive breast cancer than those who had the national average of 17 nanograms and under. It’s definitely not a cause-and-effect-type relationship, nor a cure all by any means, but it doesn’t hurt to add it to your current regime (whether diagnosed or not). (2)
Breast Cancer vaccines could one day be coming to a city near you: Although still in the research and trial stage, a new preventative vaccine is in the works and is already showing promising results.
This new vaccine, called GP2, is for those who’ve already had breast cancer and want to prevent a recurrence. A recent study has shown that the experimental group saw a 57 percent reduction rate in recurrence compared to the control group (who only received an immune stimulant). (2)
“The ultimate goal is to develop a preventative tool that will minimize the risk of recurrence in women who have already had breast cancer and for whom standard therapies have failed,” wrote principal investigator Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas. (2)
It’s Never Too Late to Start Making Changes: Even if you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, you can still make healthier changes that will have a positive impact on the disease.
Two recent Yale University studies found that by adopting healthier eating and exercise habits, breast cancer patients significantly decreased in their C-reactive protein — a common marker for recurrence. Simply by adopting strength training twice per week and cardiovascular activity for a mere 2.5 hours per week, they not only reduced their C-reactive proteins but also overall body weight and body fat. (2)
We live in a very promising time; now is the time to make positive changes in our health — no matter our age or current state of health. Be active, eat healthy, get great quality sleep, stress less, laugh (and move) more. Every healthy choice you make helps to either fight the disease (if you currently have it) or reduce your risk of obtaining it in the first place. Focus on one day at a time, one moment at a time. Today is a brand new day — forget about yesterday and make today your best day yet!
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.