Functional medicine approach to breast cancer




It's October which as you know is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I wish I could say we are making headway in curing this disease but unfortunately the cases have risen and continually to rise. Whether recovery or not, this is a disease that 1 in 8 women will endure vs 1 in 20 women back in the 1960's.


It has had an impact on me and my family - my mom, cousin-in-law and good friend recovered but took a life of a young girl who I was close with at one time (she was only 32). Every year at this time I am reminded of just how much it can affect your life.


Which is why I am such a huge proponent on prevention, if we can make changes on what we can control then we have a great chance of living a healthy long life cancer free.


It has been said that "genetics load the gun, but environmental factors pull the trigger". Sure, I may have genetics against me but that is only 20% of the outcome. It is the other 80%, or the lifestyle/environment factors that really determines your fate.


So let's get started today with how we can improve our chances of getting breast cancer or chances of any reoccurrences.


SUGAR AND PROCESSED FOODS


We all know that sugar is bad, but did you know that cancer feeds off of sugar? So every time you eat sugar you are increasing your chance for breast cancer and even if you have breast cancer, sugar is most definitely a detriment. What sugar does, especially coming from high fructose corn syrup and refined carbohydrates, is that it increases your insulin levels and increasing estrogen at the same time.


With the increase in insulin, comes the increase in body fat (visceral fat). Studies show excess body fat increases your chance for breast cancer


To combat your sugar intake, up your fiber as it is critical to the gut. Your intake should be around 35g a day and come in the form of vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts as well as flax seeds.


Make sure to have protein at every meal. Not only does this satiate you but has many nutrient benefits. Make sure to buy grass-fed, pasture raised and wild caught whenever possible.


Lastly, ensure you are taking supplements such as Vitamin B with folate which help prevent breast and other cancers


ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS


When I talk about environmental toxins, I am mostly talking about the toxins that we have control over. Sometimes the air where we live can also be a source of toxicity and also now the 5G towers with EMF radiation, if you are able to move to cleaner and fresher area that would be ideal, but for now let's just concentrate on those toxins we can eliminate.


Toxins that are called Xenoestrogens are toxins that mimic estrogen. They bind to the estrogen receptors that make estrogen, stimulating the cancer pathways.


Things like plastic containers or anything with BPA (Bisphenol A) and this includes water bottles. Even plastics that say BPA free are not what they say they are. So it's best to stay away from plastic all together - and especially avoid cooking food in them in the microwave.


If possible, use filtered water. Tap water has many chemicals in there that are carcinogenic. Also take a look at the ingredients in your skincare, hair care and makeup products.


For more information on all things toxicity, go to www.ewg.org



DIGESTIVE HEALTH


As 70-80% of our immune system resides in our gut, it is important to have a balance of healthy gut bacteria. This also helps break down your food and detoxify the estrogen made in your body after it's used. The bad bugs means that there is excess estrogen and that becomes reabsorbed rather than eliminated causing to be estrogen dominant. The use of antibiotics kills off both the bad and the good gut bacteria which is is found to be linked to breast cancer.


To keep a healthy balance make sure to take probiotics and eat plenty of fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and tempeh. If you suspect a sever gut issue such as IBS or other auto-immune issues, contact your Functional Medicine Practitioner to test further.


STRESS


It goes without saying stress is a huge factor when it comes to chronic diseases and breast cancer is no different. Some ways to manage stress: meditation, yoga, deep breathing, walking, getting out in nature, journaling, reading, etc.


EXERCISE


Exercise is another great way to manage stress, but it also can decrease your risk for breast cancer. Exercise, specifically more strength training improves insulin sensitivity, helping you balance estrogen and maintain a healthy body weight.


ALCOHOL


I know, I know this is one you don't want to hear. Now I am not saying not to drink alcohol at all, but to limit alcohol intake and if you can eliminate that is definitely ideal. And yes, even wine. Studies show that a glass of wine a day increase chances for breast cancer 40%. Increased alcohol intake means that your liver cannot metabolize the estrogen well. Instead of having a glass every night, limit to 2-3x a week.


THERMOGRAPHY


I add thermography in prevention because I believe that it is the safest, most effective and only way to scan for breast cancer. I interviewed a woman who is certified in thermography technology. Click HERE to listen. Using thermography, images are infrared images versus x-ray and thermography does not flatten your boob like a pancake making it sore and uncomfortable making it less invasive. Do your research and talk to a thermographer for more information.



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