Preventive and recovery strategies for breast cancer
Reduce your risk and help your
recovery through diet and exercise
by Dr. Lynn McIntosh, D.C.
Everyone is different and breast cancer can hit women (and men!) at just about any age. But, did you know there are strategies that can be incorporated in to your everyday lifestyle that can help reduce the risk of this disease?
There are a few areas you have control over. Diet, exercise and weight management all go hand-in-hand.
Estrogen fuels 80% of breast cancers. You can help reduce estrogen levels naturally through exercise. Exercise also helps reduce other growth factors and hormones that can turn breast cells into cancer cells.
One study showed that exercise can help reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 36%!(1) Though studies vary, a minimum of three to five hours of moderate exercise a week seem to show the best results. Plus this regular workout will also help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Eating healthy is also important. Some foods that have specific preventative vitamins and minerals are:
Brazil nuts: richest dietary source of selenium, which activates antioxidants against cancer.
Concord grapes and berries: contain flavonoids, which are also powerful antioxidants. The flavonoids also work with the Vitamin C the fruits contain to hinder the growth of cancer cells.
Cruciferous vegetables: these are cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. They contain phyto-chemical that makes tumors less susceptible to estrogen.
Fatty Fish: Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies all are high in omega-3 is essential to the cell membranes to block inflammation.
Flaxseed: Should be ground up and added to yogurt, cereal or baked goods. Flaxseed is rich in lignans, with is a phytoestrogen that prevents estrogen from encouraging cancer to grow.
Breastfeeding your child can also help prevent breast cancer. Pregnancy and lactation lower estrogen levels and lessen the exposure to estrogen over your lifetime.
Additionally, discontinuing long-term hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, is a prevention strategy. There are non-hormonal options available that offer less risk of serious side effects.
You also should be doing self breast exams every single month and getting an annual mammogram after the age of 40.
Although women can do a variety of preventative activities, nothing is guaranteed. There is always some risk that remains. Fortunately with early detection, breast cancer is survivable in a most cases.
For those who have undergone treatment, this process can take a toll on the health of your body. Recovering from treatment and putting your physical health back at its prime is possible with the right steps.
It’s no surprise that exercise and good nutrition are important steps to help restore your quality of life after treatment.
The same balanced diet and exercise regime you would use as a preventive measure and maintain a healthy lifestyle can be used to help recover from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Fatigue is a common side effect during recovery and is an important indicator for how hard you should push yourself with your health program. As with any sickness, rest and recovery are extremely important to the overall effects of getting your health back.
Your diet should consist of five or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables plus healthy fats that include Omega 3 fatty acids. Broccoli, spinach, and oranges are good choices to boost your immune system. Also, choose energy rich foods such as bean dips, non-fat yogurt, peanut butter and celery to help with symptoms like fatigue.
High fiber foods help reduce cancer risk and help with heart disease, so it’s always a win-win choice in your diet. Choose low saturated fat meats and healthy carbohydrates. As always, fresh and natural foods will be better options than any processed foods or foods that come out of a box.
Recovery from breast cancer is different for each person. The strategies discussed here are vital to anyone’s health and lifestyle and should be incorporated into everyday life to help with prevention and recovery and as a general rule for naturally good health.
In addition to these strategies, there are also options that can help with recovery by uncovering the nutrients that are deficient in your body.Kansas City Chiropractic provides micronutrient testing (Spectracell) to discover what nutritional deficiencies need to be corrected. The nutrient testing measures how micronutrients are actually functioning in your white blood cells. The results of these tests can help map out your recovery plan after cell-destroying treatments necessary to conquer cancer. Knowing what areas are deficient can possibly speed recovery time depending upon your body’s needs.
Dr. McIntosh is a board certified Chiropractor, licensed in both Kansas and Missouri. In addition to being licensed to provide general chiropractic care, she is also a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, working with athletes from multiple disciplines on specific sports-related problems and a Certified Acupuncturist. She can be found on the internet at KansasCityChiropractic.com or by calling 816-753-4600.
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