Sunday, September 29, 2013

31 cancer prevention tips for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

My husband Ed is a patient at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. I love their  slogan "Making Cancer History," which they are doing with their cancer treatment and prevention research. It's amazing to hear all the different foreign languages from the people who travel the globe to be treated by the best doctors in the world. Needless to say I follow their advice on cancer prevention.  Their Facebook page is a wealth of knowledge and the majority of the prevention suggestions I've learned comes from this site. "Like" them and you'll get the most current cancer prevention tips available!! 

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I have researched 31 different ways you can prevent cancer - one for each day of October.   Only 20-30% of breast cancer happens in women that have risk factors. In 1940, a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer was 1 in 22. Today that risk is 1 in 8! There are lots of unknowns, and I choose to follow a safer than sorry policy when it comes to environmental toxins. This list is not a guarantee, but can certainly help you in your cancer prevention efforts!

  1. Make it a habit to take your shoes off at the door. 85% of the dirt in your home is brought in from the outside on the bottom of your shoes - just think of all the filthy things you step in daily! Not only will your floors be cleaner, but you'll greatly reduce the chemicals, pesticides, allergenic dust, animal dander, feces, bacteria and other pollutants that are tracked into your living space.
  2. Dryer sheets and laundry detergent are loaded with artificial fragrances that coat your clothing in a layer of carcinogenic and hormone disrupting chemicals that are easily transferred to your skin. These chemical compounds are very good at moving through cellular membranes and entering tissues of the body, including the nervous system. Stay away from traditional name brands and consider non-toxic options like Honest Company, Seventh Generation or Charlie's Soap (made in NC!). I love these static eliminator sheets and Etsy has several homemade wool dryer ball options.
  3. Reduce your dairy intake - there is a huge link between dairy and breast cancer because of the tremendous amounts of hormones and growth factors that cows are given. In addition casein, which makes up 87% of cow's milk protein, promotes all stages of the cancer process (The China Study). In the parts of the world that do not consume dairy, breast cancer is almost non existent.  Start out by replacing your cow's milk with an alternative like almond or coconut. I promise you won't miss it, these are GOOD!!! 
  4. Eat less meat. You are eating the residue of what those animals ate including pesticides, growth hormones and contaminants. If you must eat meat, choose hormone-free and organic to eliminate those traces of hormones that can enter our bodies and contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  5. Eat more whole foods and less fake foods. Fall in love with fruits, vegetables and grains and avoid synthetic processed foods full of additives and chemicals like trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, aspartame. Try eating vegetarian one day a week and increase from there. Click here for 10 cancer fighting foods. I highly recommend reading the book The China Study which will teach you all about the connection between diet and disease - this book changed my life!
  6. Artificial sweeteners are among the worst chemicals we ingest today. Diet Coke additions are STRONG - try switching out one a day with water and go from there. Stevia is a great alternative and Trader Joe's sells it in nice little paper packets. Avoid any processed "low fat" foods because they are FULL of dangerous artificial sweeteners.
  7. Purchase a stainless steel container for your water to reduce exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals that may leach into water from plastics. I really like My Sigg, which are "as fashionable as they are functional."
  8. Sweating is your body's natural way of ridding itself of toxins. This release is prevented with antiperspirants and those toxins are kept in the body - right next to your breasts.... The parabens and aluminum ingredients are linked to breast cancer. Primal Pit Paste is 100% natural and does the job for me - with a name like that it deserves a try!
  9. Always microwave food and beverages in ceramic or glass instead of plastic containers to reduce exposure to carcinogenic chemicals that may leach into food when containers are heated. Also keep anything plastic off the bottom shelf of the dishwasher - heat and plastic are a dangerous combo.
  10. Buy yourself a new shower curtain liner because chances are yours is made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride. Studies show that high heat and humidity cause the release of several different chemicals including phthalates, which are linked to breast cancer.
  11. Stay at home moms have 54% higher cancer rates due to household chemical exposure. With all the warnings on the labels, its no surprise! Replace your household cleaners with DIY homemade formulas like these from my blog - you get to customize the scent with your favorite essential oil!
  12. Did you know that if you rub garlic on the bottom of your feet you will taste it? That is because whatever you put on your skin goes directly into your blood stream. Skin does not have any filters to eliminate toxins like your liver does with food so it is important to be aware of what is in  your skin care products and makeup. Use Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Skin Deep database of 65,000 products to determine if your favorite products are safe or full of toxic chemicals. I have found its best to shop at natural food stores (in Charlotte Berrybrook Farms is awesome!). Check out natural products like Ava Anderson Non-Toxic or Burt's Bees.
  13. Replace your plastic food containers with glass - I love my new Pyrex Snapware and don't miss my old plastic stuff one bit. Make sure all the plastic in your kitchen that comes in contact with food is BPA free (BPA is a hormone disrupting chemical with strong links to breast cancer).
  14. Drink a green juice or smoothie every day, which is the easiest and tastiest way I know to eat a bunch of veggies. Try for a 3-1 veggie to fruit ratio and you won't believe how you only taste the fruit! Consider investing in a Vitamix - pricey but worth every penny.
  15. This is a weird one...refuse receipts at retail stores. Thermal cash register receipts are covered with BPA and absorbed into your skin when handled. The EWG found that some receipts harbor BPA levels up to 1,000 times higher than BPA detected in the linings of metal cans, yikes. I tell the cashier that I don't need the receipt, and hope I don't need to return something!
  16. There are lots of unknowns about cell phones and cancer. To be safe, wear a headset, keep calls brief, or text instead of calling. 
  17. Stop using dangerous chemicals in your yard like Roundup, which are linked to Parkinson's, cancer, infertility, and a slew of other health problems. Try natural, organic alternatives. Some weeds here and there won't hurt anybody, but the chemicals can do major damage.
  18. Next time you're in the market for some furniture make sure it is not chemically treated with an endocrine disrupting flame retardant like Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE - check out Lee Industries for some beautiful choices.
  19. Ladies, no more scented, bleached tampons (why do they need to be scented anyways? I have never understood this...). The brand names do not use organic cotton and important parts up in there are being exposed to synthetic fragrances and chemicals. Check out Lunette or Diva Cup for some alternatives you've probably never heard of....
  20. Organic produce is grown without harmful man made pesticides and herbicides. The EWG puts together two lists every year, "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Clean 15," to help consumers know when they should buy organic and when it isn't necessary. Not only do organic fruits and veggies taste better, but they also contain higher total antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients like polyphenols and flavonoids than conventionally raised (and sprayed) food. Check your local farmer's market! If you do purchase conventional fruits and veggies, wash them in a solution of 3:1 water to white vinegar, which will help remove chemicals and dirt. 
  21. Sugar is cancer's best friend and primary food source. Cut down on your intake! Cancer ferments glucose in order to produce energy, which cells need to live. Deprive them of their food and you have a good chance of killing them!! If you're really serious about cancer prevention, sugar is the first thing to go.
  22. Canned foods are lined with BPA, with the exception of these brands (Trader Joe's cans are BPA free except for sardines, clams, oysters, mandarins, hatch chills, artichokes and organic baked beans) It's best to ditch the cans altogether and eat fresh veggies from your local farmer's market!
  23. Get rid of any artificial fragrances in your house like Febreeze or Glade Plug-In which are full of phthalates. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. 
  24. Drink clean water and buy a filter like this by Aquasana (down the road consider investing in a reverse osmosis filter that will also remove fluoride). Tap water is full of Chlorine, Flouride, Aluminum, and other known carcinogens. The majority of developed countries (97% of Europe) stopped adding flouride to their water because of its toxicology.
  25. Beware of commercial pesticides, which not only poison ants, roaches and mice but are linked to a variety of human diseases including breast cancer. They linger for a long time too, for years and years allowing for multiple exposures. For safer options, check out this great resource.
  26. EXERCISE!! Studies show that 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily decreases your cancer risk.  According to the Susan G Komen Foundation, women who gained about 20 pounds after age 18 had a 15 percent higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer compared to women who gained little or no weight. Women who gained 55 pounds or more after age 18 had a 45 percent higher risk. 
  27. Although X-rays and CT scans can provide critical information for diagnosing medical problems,  there is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation. Determine whether or not the tests are absolutely necessary and if there is an radiation free alternative, such as an MRI or ultrasound. Research Thermoscans as a mammogram alternative. They are radiation free and the best technology known to date that can detect suspicious breast patterns early.
  28. The benefits of fruits and vegetables are endless when it comes to protecting your body from cancer but the majority of people don't get the USDA recommended 7 to 13 servings per day. Juice Plus can help bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat every day - its clinically proven!
  29. Get some sunshine!! Vitamin D alters gene expression which prevent deadly mutation and lower breast cancer risk. All you need is 10 minutes of exposure without sunscreen on your arms and legs a day during midday sun. 
  30. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off diseases like cancer. Find a relaxing outlet that allows you to unwind - yoga, gardening and hiking do the trick for me.
  31. Protect yourself from Electromagnetic Field (EMF) exposure,which is basically anything electrically charged. Cell phones are included in the category and there are many unknowns which is why it should be treated as an environmental toxin. Try to keep your bedroom electronic free especially by where you sleep. Keep your cell phone in a different room at night (never use as an alarm clock by your bed!), position your bed so your head is 3-6 feet away from electrical outlets, and power off anything with an "on button" at night.


  1. This list is fantastic and thank you! I am going to share it with my entire family.

  2. You're so welcome and thank you for passing along! When I started researching non-toxic living I was amazed by how many things I had never heard of before. I had always considered myself a savvy consumer and was shocked at how in the dark I was - so glad you like it :)

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