One in eight women will battle breast cancer in her lifetime, a statistic that has not changed significantly for a few years. The good news is that the odds of surviving breast cancer continue to improve every year. Approximately 2.4 million breast cancer survivors are living today, most of those now cancer-free.Deaths from breast cancer continue to decline at a rate of about 2% per year according to a recent statistical report produced by the American Cancer Society, with early detection and advances in treatment technology getting much of the credit. While breast cancer deaths are in decline, 178,480 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2007. Clearly we have a long way to go in preventing the disease.
IS CANCER PREVENTABLE?
The most significant risk factors are unfortunately beyond our control.
- Family History. Breast cancer is more likely to occur if one’s close female relatives (mother, sister or daughter) have had the disease.
- Age. More than 95% of breast cancer incidences and death occur in women over 40.
- Ethnicity. African American women have a disproportionately high mortality rate.
- Reproductive history. Later-age pregnancy, or no full-term pregnancy at all
- Being Female. Although breast cancer claims the lives of 450 men per year, the disease still overwhelmingly afflicts women at 99% of all diagnoses.
Known controllable risk factors include:
- Physical inactivity
- Alcohol consumption
- Hormone use (HRT)
So women can take some measure of personal responsibility for their own health, practicing healthy habits throughout life. Those habits should include a healthy diet, stress avoidance, a moderate exercise program, and a regular supplementation regimen that ensures your intake of the proper nutrients in the correct amounts.
A twenty-minute daily walk is the simplest way to burn some calories and impact your health in a positive way. If you can add some weight training to build bone strength and density and increase your metabolism, so much the better.
The American Cancer Society recommends a plant-based diet. Loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants and vitamins, several servings of fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily. Meat and dairy are acceptable, as long as you select low fat selections such as skim milk, low fat cheese, turkey or chicken without skin, or fish. Avoid fried foods – bake or broil instead.
The majority of our diet, even a diet full of healthy whole foods tends to be acid producing. It is very important to regularly test your pH and if your system is acidic to take immediate steps to fortify your body with an alkalizing diet. Foods that are alkaline are fresh dark greens, pure greens drinks, most vegetables and fresh fruits.