October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 287,850 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States alone. While 5-10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary & passed down through genes, the remaining 90-95% are not. This means that there are many ways we can prevent breast cancer & promote optimal health, not just for a month, but for life. Here are 5 holistic, research-supported ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer:
1. Opt out of The Pill
Use of combination oral contraceptives, aka "The Pill" or birth control pills, increases risk of breast cancer. Once women stop taking the pill, the risk declines & can eventually return to baseline-- as if you've never taken the pill!
IUDs, the progestin only mini-pill, & non-hormonal contraceptives don't show this risk. My personal favorite way to prevent pregnancy without any side effects is with an evidence-based Fertility Awareness Method, such as the SymptoHormonal Method, that I use & teach. These methods must be learned with an instructor for maximum efficacy, but give you up to 99% efficacy & can be used at many reproductive stages.
2. Reduce Alcohol Use
Having even just one alcoholic beverage per day increases the risk of breast cancer by 30-50%. Alcohol can elevate estrogen levels & by burdening the liver, make it more difficult for the liver to metabolize toxins & excess hormones.
Alcohol can also cause free radicals, which damage cells inside of the body.
With so m any mocktails, teas, & other beverages, you can find lots of alternatives to your typical alcoholic beverage of choice! I've written about changing your relationship with alcohol in many other posts on my blog, & have spoken about it extensively on
Instagram! This is just another great reason to reduce or eliminate your use.
3. Exercise Regularly
Working out is an important step to cancer prevention, since 18% of all cancers are linked to unhealthy lifestyle. The American Cancer Society recommends 75-150 of vigorous exercise per week or 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise.
Whether you're taking 3-5 exercise classes, taking daily walks, or hitting the gym a few times a week, this reduces your risk for both breast cancer & many other forms of cancer. Sweating has also been shown to help remove endocrine-disrupting toxins, such as BPA, which mimic estrogen in a harmful way & is a potential risk for breast cancer.
4. Get Good Nutrients In, & Get Waste Out
A key part of living a healthy lifestyle is eating a balanced diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods. Stanford Medicine says that eating a variety of plants-- such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, & whole grains-- reduces your risk of breast cancer. They also recommend healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, & fish. Green tea also has anti-cancer properties, giving you another excuse to enjoy a matcha latte! Once excess hormones & toxins are metabolized by the liver, they go down the lower digestive tract to be urinated or excreted out. Pooping daily (yes, I said it!) is an important function of a healthy metabolism. Daily, healthy bowel movements are a key part of getting waste out of the body & may reduce breast cancer risk!