Preventing Breast Cancer Can Start In Your Gut
Did you know that what you eat can affect the beginning of breast cancer? Each of us should be more aware of ways to prevent it. October is breast cancer awareness month and reminds us that “1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime”. The information in this blog will discuss the often overlooked topic of cancer and diet.
The leading cause of death among women is lung cancer and the second leading cause is breast cancer. The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood. One fact remains constant – lifestyle choices have a manor impact on increasing your risk of developing this form of cancer.
Some research studies are worth considering to help control your risk of getting cancer:
- 35 % of all cancer deaths, including breast cancer, are directly linked to choice of foods, drinks, and amount and type physical activity.
- You need adequate ‘good bacteria’ in your stomach and intestines.
- More than 70% of your entire immune system is found in the stomach.
- An unbalance of good vs. bad bacteria affects the risk of post-menopausal cancer.
- An estimated 253 new case of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2017 and more than 63,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
- About 41,000 women are expected to die in 2017 in America.
This is certainly scary and should motivate you to do all you can to prevent breast cancer. Remember – preventing breast cancer can start in your gut.
Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms
You may not be aware of the beginning of breast cancer. A lump in the breast may be too small for you to detect and/or no noticeable changes in your health may occur. This is why a mammogram screening is so important. Watch out for these:
- A new lump or mass in the breast that can be felt
- Pain in either breast or nipple
- Nipple turning inward or dimpling in breast
- Swelling of either breast
- Skin irritation, redness, scaliness
- Lump in the underarm areas
- A nipple discharge (not breast milk)
These symptoms can be confused with a cyst or infection. That’s why you need to have any of these signs or symptoms checked out by your doctor. If any occur ask your family physician to refer you to Digestive Medicine Associates for screening and testing.
Screening and Testing for Cancer
Preventative measures are very important. Start by giving yourself a monthly self-test by feeling for a lump or cyst. Make sure you have a mammogram on a regular basis. If the doctor suspects cancer a number of screenings and tests will be performed that may include:
- Screening tests to find breast cancer early
- Diagnostic tests such as a biopsy is performed if cancer is suspected
- Monitoring tests once breast caner is diagnosed
- Other tests as deemed necessary by our doctors
Screening is important for women who have a family history of breast cancer. Studies show that 75% of women who have breast cancer initially show no symptoms or risk factors. Screening such as a mammogram serves as early detection for treatment. If cancer is found early on it makes it easier to treat.
Diagnosis of Your Condition and Test Results
The doctor performing the screening and diagnostic tests will let you know the final diagnosis and test results as soon as they come back. This may take up to a week. Meanwhile you anxiously await the call to come back into the office. Be patient in the mean time. Ask your doctor when to expect the results – it will help to reduce the stress. When you return to the office listen carefully to everything the doctor tells you, keep the summary report, and follow all of the advice you are given. Return for all visits and treatments for successful results.
Change Your Diet and Lifestyle
Now that you have more knowledge of breast cancer and how it can be related to your gut and lifestyle it’s time to do something about it under your control. Here is some sound advice:
- Fight back with good foods and reduce or eliminate unhealthy beverages
- Eat foods that are high in prebiotics
- Also eat foods that are high in probiotics
- They include more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Eat low fat yogurt, fermented vegetables and fermented soybeans
- Ask our physician for a more detailed list of foods
- Exercise regularly – a minimum of 2.5 hours per week: 4 is better
- Lose weight to a healthy level
- Learn to reduce daily stress in your life
The idea is to create a balance of good bacteria in your stomach and intestines with good foods. It goes a long way to help prevent cancer, including breast cancer. Prebiotics and probiotics can boost your immune system. They can help fight inflammation that can reduce your risk for cancer. Research has shown that a healthy immune system can detect and kill cells that can lead to breast cancer. Eating right can make all the difference.