9 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

5 Sep

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

You know what they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s probably worth more. Cancer runs in my family.  A lot.  My dad died from cancer. Lymphoma.  My mom died from cancer.  Lung (well, that is where is started).  My brother had prostate cancer.  His son, my nephew, died in his 40’s from a rare type of lymphatic cancer.  Yeah, a lot.  SO I believe in prevention.  I believe in detoxing. I believe in doing self breast exams, regularly  I have not had a mammogram. Honestly, at this point I do not plan to. I am going to see my doctor in a few weeks and ask about the tests below. I got the following three articles – all rolled into one blog post – from Dr. Don Colbert’s website. Good advice. Make sure you make it all the way down to Newest Breast Cancer Screening Test Uses Saliva. Sorry this post is so choppy, this is an emotional subject for me.



9 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

by Dr. Don Colbert

6 Foods to Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is expected in 230,000 women in 2012 in the United States. It is the second most common type of cancer among American women. Although our genes play a role in the development of disease, genes can be influenced by diet and exercise. New research has shown that there are several types of food that should be included in the diet for anyone wanting to protect themselves against breast cancer.

Preventing breast cancer begins with:

  • Diet

    • Increase broccoli, kale and cabbage. These and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called Diindolylmethane, or DIM. DIM is a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol and has several effects on cancer cells, according toMemorialSloan-KetteringCancerCenter. It blocks division of many different types of malignant cells and even causes some of these cells to die. It may also prevent malignant cells from invading healthy tissue and it may slow or prevent growth of blood vessels in tumors. DIM may also act specifically against breast cancer cells, blocking the positive effect of estrogen on some cancers and causing it to be deactivated and excreted.
    • Eat Pomegranates. Pomegranates contain ellagic acid, a natural chemical that inhibits aromatase, an enzyme linked to the development of estrogen-responsive breast cancer. Pomegranate supplements can also provide a boost for the immune system.
    • Add Walnuts. Walnuts should become part of your anti-cancer diet. Researchers now think that having two ounces of walnuts every day may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
    • Drink Green Tea. The special nutrients found in green tea may decrease the risk breast cancer. Green tea is high in a unique class of nutrients known as catechins. Catechins may combat cancerous and precancerous breast cells. By drinking three cups of green tea per day, women under 50 years of age may reduce their breast cancer risk.
    • Eat Oatmeal. Pre-menopausal women who eat at least 20 g of dietary fiber per day may lower the risk of breast cancer. When it comes to fiber, it’s hard to beat oatmeal. A single serving of oatmeal contains nearly 4 g of fiber. Oatmeal can be easily combined with other high fiber and cancer fighting foods such as blueberries, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
    • Add Blueberries. The antioxidants in blueberries may offset breast cancer risk. Blueberries can help fight off cancer cells. It recommends that women looking to lower their breast cancer chances eat about 3 .5 ounces of blueberries per day.

Other factors that can help prevent breast cancer:

  • Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than one drink a day. Even low levels of alcohol have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Get active. Being physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight which helps prevent breast cancer. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity like brisk walking or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running.
  • Avoid exposure to environmental pollution. Some research suggests a link between breast cancer and exposure to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in vehicle exhaust and air pollution.


Mammograms Can Miss Cancer in 1 in 5 Women

by Dr. Don Colbert


People with an increased risk of breast cancer, especially for those with an inherited increased risk, need to be diligent in watching for changes in their breasts. However, they should be cautious about and avoid early and frequent mammography exposure. Many times, though, in order to find and treat breast cancer early, this is exactly what is recommended. Alternative examination methods such as MRI or ultrasound testing can be considered in these cases. There is growing controversy regarding the safety and efficacy of mammography. The risks and limitation of mammography include:

  • Mammograms aren’t always accurate. The accuracy of the procedure depends in part on the technique used and the experience and skill of the radiologist. Other factors – such as your age and breast density – may result in false-negative or false-positive mammograms. False positives usually result in additional diagnostic tests, which can include an additional x-ray or biopsy. Tell your doctor if you’ve noticed a change in one of your breasts, especially if your mammogram is interpreted as normal. If you’ve had a change in your breast, your doctor may order a diagnostic mammogram so that the suspicious area is looked at more closely than can be done with a screening mammogram.


  • Mammograms expose you to low-dose radiation. The low doses of radiation associated with annual screening mammography could be placing high-risk women in even more jeopardy of developing breast cancer, particularly if they start screening at a young age or have frequent exposure. The dose is very low, though, and for most women the benefits of regular mammograms outweigh the risks posed by this amount of radiation.


  • Mammograms in younger women can be difficult to interpret. The breasts of younger women contain more glands and ligaments than do those of older women, resulting in dense breast tissue that can make it difficult to pick up the signs of cancer. As we age, breast tissue becomes fattier and has fewer glands, making it easier to detect changes on mammograms.


  • Screening mammography can’t detect all cancers. Some cancers detected by physical examination may not be seen on the mammogram. A cancer may be too small or may be in an area that is difficult to view by mammography, such as your armpit. Mammograms can miss 1 in 5 cancers in women.


  • Some studies have shown that severe compression of the breast can lead to microscopic tissue ruptures.



Newest Breast Cancer Screening Test Uses Saliva

by Dr. Don Colbert

There are many new screening techniques showing promising results for the detection of breast cancer. Scientists have recently discovered a new way of testing for breast cancer that could make mammograms a thing of the past. The test is safer and potentially far more accurate than current mammograms.

Screening tests are designed to uncover indications of a disease in people who have no symptoms. Public health organizations recommend screening tests by assessing the test’s benefit versus its risk. If it can identify a disease early enough to allow for treatment, and the likelihood of missing the disease or showing up as positive when it’s not (causing unnecessary procedures), then the test is recommended.

Researchers are continuing to look for better screening methods because many tumors still show up between tests. Health experts have long advised different breast screening schedules for women at different ages. New information is continuously being released for breast cancer screening. Some screening intervals and technologies may be more effective than others for certain groups of women. This is the newest information to ask your doctor about at your next visit. These tests could revolutionize the future of breast cancer care by providing more accurate detection. Learn about these mammogram alternatives to see if they could be right for you:

  • MRI. In addition to being less painful, the advantage of MRIs over mammograms is that they provide more detailed images and can show increased or abnormal blood flow in the breast, a possible indication of cancer that can’t be seen on a mammogram. MRIs are also better than for women with dense breasts. The downside to MRI’s is that they lead to many more false-positive results than mammograms and are much more expensive and not all insurers cover the cost. Unlike mammograms, MRIs do not expose women to radiation. Instead, they create images with a magnet and radio waves.


  • Ductal lavage. Ductal lavage is a screening tool used to detect breast cancer in women at high risk of breast cancer before it starts. Cells are collected from the milk ducts of the breast for analysis. The procedure is used to identify precancerous cells. This procedure is currently is performed only on women who have multiple breast cancer risk factors to try to detect breast cancer before it starts.


  • Breast thermography. Breast thermography, also called infrared imaging, is a painless, non-invasive technique which uses a special camera and computer analysis to measure and map abnormal blood flow in the breast that may or may not suggest cancer. Hot spots may indicate an area where new blood vessels are forming to feed a tumor. If, for example, thermography finds one in the left breast that isn’t present in the right, the difference might suggest an abnormality although this isn’t necessarily cancer. Breast thermography has been approved by the FDA as a safe test, but not as effective as others at this point.


  • Saliva test. This screening test checks a woman’s saliva for evidence of 49 identified proteins in saliva that can actually distinguish healthy women from those with benign breast tumors and those with malignant breast tumors. One day, it may be possible for your dentist to perform this simple test during your twice yearly dental check-up. Whichever screening test you and your doctor decide are right for you, make sure you are vigilant about breast cancer detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, make sure you talk with your doctor for an evaluation.



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