If 1 in 8 women get breast cancer in their lives, I’d like to invite you to join me to be the 7 in 8 who don’t. Since I was diagnosed 7/15/16, I am already the 1 in 8. Through prevention, let’s join together and change the odds from 1 in 8 to 1 in 25, 1 in 100, or even 1 in 1,000 or more. If you are a cancer thriver please join too.
There is so much fear around breast cancer and trepidation about screenings. Together by getting back to simple ways of living, we can turn back time on the odds of getting breast and other cancers. Right now men have a 1 in 2 chance of getting cancer in their lifetime and women 1 in 3. I am so grateful for my life as not everyone survives a cancer diagnosis.
What does prevention look like? There is a list below, but one of my favorites is pause and breathe. Is there something you do that makes you pause and take a deep breath? Examples are being in nature, beautiful art, your sleeping child, or a beloved pet, can all make us pause and breathe. Making time to pause and breathe regularly feeds my spirit and help me know what’s important in life.
Another big change I made right after being diagnosed is no longer rushing. If I was running late, I’d let the person know and accept it. This helped me reduce stress and avoid frantic behavior patterns. There are no guarantees about prevention and people may have some things in common, but there are no hard and fast rules about who gets cancer. But I truly believe many folks can change their terrain.
Change the Terrain
If we view the body as a garden, the goal is to change the terrain to support healthy cells and be inhospitable to cancer cells thus allowing the immune system to be able to identify and eliminate them. Consider starting simply and add 3 things from the list to build upon. Some of us are starting at the beginning so can pick three changes such as practicing pause, adding some fruit and veggies, and starting some activity such as walking. Each month, or when ready, add more. For some there are areas to add and for some folks it’s just a double check. You may be doing even more prevention as a lifestyle than listed below. There need not be any judgment about where we are in the process.
Trust your instincts about what is right for you, what is right for one may not be right for another. Research anything you are curious about. This list compiled is from my experience and research, includes some but not all of my protocols, and may not take into account specific health conditions. It is expressed simply in my own understanding as a person who has thrived after breast cancer. The intention is prevention not treatment of an active condition which clearly requires a whole team of professionals.
Balance hormones - Chronic stress can have a snowball affect on hormones. For example, cortisol robs progesterone, progesterone is not available to balance the estrogens which can lead to excess breast cell growth. Reducing stress, supporting the adrenals with supplements can help. A good functional medicine doctor may be helpful. Consider having vitamin D levels checked and supplement if low.
Nutrition - plant based diet and organic if possible. Picture vegetables and fruit as the majority of a days food. Add a green smoothie or two to make it easier. Some plants like wheat grass are only one element different from our blood.
- Reduce processed foods - sugar, fat, grains and replace with maple syrup or honey in small amounts, healthy fats, whole grains.
- Reduce alcohol - excess estrogen is processed in the body through the liver. If the liver is overloaded with processing alcohol, it may contribute to hormone imbalance.
- Reduce or eliminate dairy/meat - If eating dairy or meat go for organic. The added hormones can disrupt the hormonal balance and dairy is made from an estrogenic animal. Traditionally Asian cultures do not eat dairy and use meat more as a condiment and have much less incidence of breast and other cancers.
Gut balance - in the past if my digestion seemed out I did not take it seriously. But through this experience I have a healthier idea of my limits. Some theories are that gut imbalance can be a precursor for many diseases. I noticed my Mom had gut imbalance many years before she fully developed ALS. The good news is through prevention we have the possibility to reverse conditions that may be developing. A good probiotic supports healthy digestion. The body is so resilient!
Exercise - cardiovascular exercise releases cancer preventing factors into the blood for 12 hours afterwards. Exercise also burns fuel, specifically sugar depending how you are working out, and floods the body with oxygen. Yoga and martial arts are great for the soul too.
Oxygen - cancer thrives in an oxygen deprived environment. There are theories that in some cases cancer may be a cellular adaptation for survival when the body becomes inhospitable through excess acidity and lack of oxygen. So breath work and cardio support the proper terrain of the body.
Sweat- out the impurities in a steam room or warm yoga.
Express yourself - through art, music or dance. Get support when experiencing traumatic events.
Research - and get appropriate breast screenings. Some women use thermograms as an additional screening tool.
Reduce body weight - as excess body fat can affect estrogen levels. Many of the actions in this list may naturally keep weight healthy.
Do your best and let go of the rest! Let go of control. Trust the process as my friend Teresa told me about selling our home.
Reduce toxic exposure - in general and specifically to pesticides and cleaning solutions. Consider getting an inexpensive shower filter from your local natural foods store.
Reduce exposure to plastics - especially when they are heated. Plastics leach hormone disrupters into our food and water.
Hydrate daily - with clean filtered water. Consider adding lemon, minerals and electrolytes.
Develop a smart body - the body guides us to care for it properly. The more I’ve learned to listen, the easier it is to understand. Intuition has guided me on my healing journey.
Making even a couple of these changes might provide more energy and vitality to life. What’s so great about incorporating these lifestyle changes is that they should provide an affect on overall health. I had already made a lot of changes before diagnosis and it made it easier to handle surgery and recovery. I now feel better than I have in a long time. Letting go of control and doing our best, makes it easier to let go of the results and deal better with anything that might come our way. Prevention can be customized by you for you.
My hope is that through a few simple actions, together we can change the odds to be more in our favor of having healthy, happy lives.
💜 and 👻 🐝 (boobies)