October is breast cancer awareness month, so lets talk about breasts baby! This blog isn’t just for women, MEN listen up too, for yourself and for your wife, girlfriend, mother or sister!
Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer among Canadian women. 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, and one in 29 will die of it. Don’t think I forgot about you men .. this year an estimated 200 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 55 will die from it. Pretty scary statistics if you ask me, but what can you do about it? I have breast cancer on both the maternal and paternal sides of my family which has me slightly terrified. Recently I have taken a look at my lifestyle and my diet and have done a complete overhaul to reduce my risk.
Yes, there are genes, that increase your risk of developing breast cancer, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. If you have one of them your chances increase by 60%. That being said, you do not need to have the breast cancer gene to be at risk for developing this disease. Your age, your gender, family and personal cancer history, starting menses early and starting menopause late are all risk factors. The good news is there are also risk factors that you can control: being overweight, taking the birth control pill, your diet, not having children, drinking alcohol, smoking, and not being physically active. Only 10% of cancer cases are genetic, the rest are related to your age, gender, and lifestyle (modifiable risk factors).
Another interesting risk factor to take into consideration is the cosmetic products you use. A study completed earlier this year found traces of cancer causing chemicals in the breast tissue of women undergoing mastectomies. The study looked at the presence of parabens, a commonly used preservative in cosmetic products (lotions, make-up, soap, shampoo, deodorant). The chemical structure of a paraben mimics that of estrogen and is therefore called a xenoestrogen. Even if the cosmetic products were not used anywhere near the breasts, the chemical still found its way to the tissue because of the high density of estrogen receptors here.
Our bodies make estrogen and now we are loading even more estrogen in to our system by using cosmetic products with parabens, by taking synthetic estrogens like the birth control pill, by storing our food in and eating out of plastic containers.
You have the choice to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Read the labels of your face wash, your body lotion, and your make-up. Check out the website: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to see just how toxic your cosmetics are. So you have decided to stop eating out of plastic containers and to stop using paraben containing cosmetics, good for you! BUT, what about the excess estrogens already in your body that have built up over years of cosmetic use. Estrogen is lipophilic, meaning it likes to be stored in fat. This is where a good detox comes in. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about how to effectively complete a cleanse.
Barr, L., Metaxas, G., Harbach, C., Savoy, L., Darbre, P. (2012). Measurement of paraben concentrations in human breast tissue at serial locations across the breast from axilla to sternum. Journal of Applied Toxicology, 32(2): 219-232.