Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Things You Can Do to Help Stay Healthy
Throughout the month of October, Sky Wellness will be donating proceeds from sales to the Coalition of Blacks Against Breast Cancer – a nonprofit whose mission is to provide high quality information and support to Black breast cancer patients within the Phoenix metropolitan area, and to educate the Black community about breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, and screening – and also to Bosom Buddies of Arizona – an organization founded to increase awareness of breast cancer by prevention, early detection and to provide support to women and men diagnosed with breast cancer, and their families.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a sobering time during which we honor those who we have lost to this tragically common disease, while bringing awareness to those who are at risk of developing it through the encouragement of screenings and making healthy choices. About 13% of American women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, along with 2 to 3,000 men in the United States.
Simple Changes in Routine and Lifestyle Can Reduce Some Breast Cancer Risk Factors
As all of us know, there is no cure for breast cancer. But, we know more about the disease than ever before, and that includes the many risk factors that increase our chances. Some relatively easy changes to our daily lives can play a big role in the prevention of breast cancer.
#1: Yes, Diet Does Make a Difference
While there is no diet that is proven to prevent breast cancer, we do know that a poor diet can increase your risk. The key is maintaining a diet that keeps your immune system as strong as possible, while eliminating foods that create a generally unhealthy environment in your body.
- Cut Down on Sugar: It’s no surprise that sugar at the top of foods to avoid. Sugar is inflammatory, and this causes the immune system to work harder to minimize its impact on the body.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are incredibly rich in nutrients that keep your body in a generally healthier state so that your immune system can be properly supported. The best way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet is to “eat the rainbow,” meaning that you prioritize diversity by eating fruits and vegetables of many different colors. This gives you a wider variety of nutrients that are essential to the body.
- Keep Up Your Healthy Fats: For years we’ve been told that fat is bad for our health, but the reality is much more complex. Healthy fats, such as those that come from avocado, nuts and olive oil, can in fact support healthy cell function which creates an environment in which cancer cells are less likely to thrive.
- Processed Foods Should Be Avoided: Processed foods are notoriously loaded with unnatural chemicals that may potentially increase our cancer risks. If you can, try to maintain a diet based on foods made from scratch.
#2: Watch Your Weight
It is no new revelation that weight can factor in the risk of developing cancer. In fact, a person who is overweight can significantly reduce their risk of cancer by simply losing 5%-10% of their body weight.
#3: Exercise is a Powerful Tool for Your Health
Exercise isn’t just about losing weight. Every system of the body benefits from regular exercise, which can oxygenate the blood, balance hormones, improve cardiovascular health, maximize the power of the immune system and yes, even have a role in the prevention of cancer. Even exercising 30 minutes per day, 3 days a week can provide major benefits to our health.
#4: Reducing Stress is Critical
So many of us underestimate the impact stress has in our physical health. The constant flow or cortisol and other stress-related hormones can wear our immune systems down by triggering an inflammatory response throughout the systems of the body. Stress reduction is key, which means that it’s time for us to prioritize our mental health. Ask yourself which areas in your life bring you the most stress, and consider some realistic changes that you can make, whether they be related to career, family or another major area of your day-to-day. Consider embracing a mindfulness routine such as yoga or meditation, both of which are proven to increase our resilience to stress.
#5: Time to Consider Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a deeply embedded component of our societal culture, which means that many of us think nothing of the fact that we drink more than we should throughout the week. But, excessive drinking is a risk factor associated with breast cancer and other types of cancer. What this means is that if you are someone who frequently has one too many, it may be time to really consider cutting back. For women, this means trying to stick to no more than one drink per day, and for men, two drinks per day.
#6: Regular Screenings are the Best Measure of All
The most effective measure for preventing breast cancer is getting screened for it. Once a woman turns 40, she should have a mammogram annually. Women who are at high risk for breast cancer, including those who have a history of the illness in their family, should start getting screened earlier than that, under the guidance of their doctor. By getting screened regularly, you may be able to detect pre-cancerous developments before they turn into cancer.
#7: Incorporate CBD into Your Routine
Over the last decade, a plethora of research has gone into understanding the hemp plant and its dominant compound, cannabidiol (CBD). Since CBD is a major cannabinoid, it binds to cannabinoid receptors that are located in every system of the body, enabling a process which can bring the body into a state of equilibrium through the process of homeostasis. Many women who take CBD daily find that it could offer some positive effects to their lives, and potentially even help them feel less “on edge”. CBD and the hemp plant as a whole are holistic, all-natural, and nontoxic.
Broad spectrum hemp products could be particularly useful, since they contain hemp extracts that retain a wider variety of naturally occurring compounds in the plant material. Broad spectrum hemp boasts a high level of cannabidiol, in addition to terpenes which also contribute to the properties of the plant. Not to mention, phytonutrients including omega fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins. These compounds work together synergistically to absorb effectively into the system and provide their properties to the body and the mind.
Honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by Making Healthy Changes
Breast cancer affects an alarmingly large percentage of women and is the most common type of cancer there is. But, the positive news is that there are many ways in which we can lower our chances of developing breast cancer. As we acknowledge the many who we have lost to the disease, we can honor them by making every effort to improve our overall health and reduce our risk of becoming another statistic. Through very easy changes, we can empower ourselves by taking our long-term health into our own hands.