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A tremendous amount of promising research is being undertaken to determine the cause of breast cancer and to establish effective ways to prevent it.
Both external and internal environments may work separately and together to affect health and possibly the risk of developing breast cancer. Internal environment includes the things inside our bodies that influence our health, such as genetics, hormones, illnesses, and feelings and thoughts. External environment refers to the things outside of our bodies that influence our health, such as air, water, food, danger, music, noise, people, and stress. It is said that there are a lot of things every woman can do individually or collectively, to prevent breast cancer.
 


Self-examine breasts

Self examination of the breasts regularly is the number one means of detecting any changes in the breast. It is advisable to examine the breast at the same time every month; this will make it easier to spot any changes in the breast. Common signs or changes to look out for include lumps, thickening or knots anywhere in the breast, unusual swelling or warmth, change in size, color or texture such as reddening or darkening of the breast, itching or scaling especially on the nipple, sudden discharge, rashes, dimpling of the skin or unusual pain.
 
Although, most of these changes might not be a sign of impending breast cancer, however, it is beneficial to be vigilant beforehand. One should always remember that it is possible to prevent breast cancer.

Eat a low-fat diet

Eating a low-fat diet may help prevent breast cancer. One should try to limit total fat intake to less than 30 percent of daily calories in order to help in the prevention of breast cancer. Also, it is recommended to consume anti-cancer fats to reduce the chances of developing cancer. Daily consumption of a tablespoon of olive oil (10 grams monounsaturated fat) is linked with 50 percent reduction in breast cancer risk.
 
Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and sardines have been found to work as risk reducers. Right amount of fat intake reduces the levels of estrogen (high level and aggressive ones linked to breast cancer) circulating in the blood and also help combat obesity, a risk factor for breast cancer among women over 50.

Consume fresh fruits and vegetables

A 1995 study found that Greek women who ate at least five servings of vegetables daily had 46 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who ate only one or two; while women who ate six servings of fruits a day had 35 percent lower risk than those who eat just one fruit. It is recommended to balance the intake between the red, green, yellow, and orange produce to cover a full range of good phytochemicals. Aside from being high in fibre, fruits and vegetables are natural sources of antioxidants that protect cells from damage derived from carcinogens. Broccoli and cabbage also have indoles that lower certain types of estrogen.

Add loads of fiber to daily diet

Fiber is known to bind up estrogen as it travels through the intestinal tract, thus reducing estrogen levels in the blood. A 1995 study in Australia showed that women with fiber-rich diets had 36 percent less risk than those who didn't consume enough fiber daily. For maximum benefit, 35 grams of fiber a day, whole grains vs. refined grains, 1/2 cup of wheat bran and beans are recommended in the daily diet.

Exercise regularly

Aerobic exercises, at least 3-4 times a week, constant breath work and deep body awareness (as in yoga meditation) are all effective in preventing breast cancer. Exercise has been shown to be very effective in maintaining a healthy body and mind. By exercising regularly, breast cancer can be prevented and in addition, exercise makes it easier to maintain a sound mind and healthy body.

Exercise, especially in younger women, may decrease hormones levels and contribute to a decreased breast cancer risk. A study conducted in Norway showed that women who exercised at least four hours weekly had a 37 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than inactive ones. Exercise also tends to lengthen time between menstrual periods, thereby reducing estrogen exposure. Exercise also boosts immune-system activity, and it helps combat obesity, a risk factor for breast cancer.

Limit drinking and avoid smoking

Alcohol consumption should be reduced to less than 1 drink per day. Alcohol may raise estrogen levels and decrease the body’s ability to use folic acid, a B vitamin that’s been linked to cancer prevention. To help minimize risk, stick with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends no more than one alcoholic drink per day for women (one serving = 12 fluid ounces beer, 5 fluid ounces wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits). Refraining from tobacco use can provide health benefits in addition to possibly lowering breast cancer risk.

Supplement diet with antioxidants

Antioxidants help the body neutralize carcinogens and protect its ability to recognize and eliminate malignant cells. It is known that 10 IUs of Vitamin E daily can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 80 percent in the genetically predisposed individuals. Those without family history experience as much as 40 percent decrease in risk.

Consume vitamin D rich products

Two studies presented at the 97th meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) suggest that exposure to high levels of vitamin D during childhood and early adulthood is associated with a reduced incidence of breast cancer. Exposure to sunlight is the most efficient way of generating vitamin D, but there is enough awareness about the dangers of sunbathing.
 
So, dietary intake of Vitamin D could be improved through fortification of foods with Vitamin D. Studies identified a level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (52 nanograms/ml) that was associated with a 50% reduction in the incidence of breast cancer. In order to achieve these levels, it was suggested that a woman would have to consume 1,000 IU or more of vitamin D per day.

Try curcumin

Recent studies show that curcumin, the yellow spice found in turmeric and curry powder, may have anti-tumor compounds that can protect against breast cancer.

Breast feeding

Breastfeeding for at least one year over all pregnancies lowers breast cancer risk.

Avoid exposure to foreign estrogens

Be cautious about getting exposed to "foreign" estrogen from meat, poultry and dairy products with estrogen residues from growth stimulants.

Follow recommended screening and detection guidelines

Consider gene testing, and/or prophylactic mastectomy in case of a strong family history of breast cancer. The recommended screening and early detection guidelines are as follows:
  • Women age 40 and older should have an annual mammogram 
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam performed by a health care professional every three years; women forty and older should have an annual clinical breast exam 
  • Breast self-examination is an option for women starting in their 20s.

  • Photo by shutterstock.com
  • www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-cancer/DS00328/DSECTION=symptoms
  • cancer.about.com/
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Breast_Cancer_Awareness_Month
  • picture: www.blackvoices.com