Rebecca was breastfeeding her baby when she noticed a pea-size lump on her left nipple. “I thought it might be a blocked milk duct, but I tried to massage it and it felt hard, so I went to the doctor’s,” she said.
Rebecca went to the hospital to get tested. Two days later, she was told she had stage 3 breast cancer. “We had an eight month old daugher who needed her mum. I wasn’t thinking ‘I’m going to die’, it was all about her.”
Rebecca is now encouraging other women to learn to know their bodies, so they, too, can spot anything unusual. She feels lucky she was breastfeeding her baby. “If I hadn’t breastfed her, I probably wouldn’t have found that lump.”
Warning Signs of Breast Cancer
- SWELLING: According to Prevention, “Sometimes a lump can be lurking under the surface, even if a woman can’t feel it. This might change the shape or size of a breast, and could even result in some pain, which 6% of women in the recent research reported.”
- NIPPLE DISCHARGE: Watch out for any discharge that’s not breast milk, especially if it’s bloody and affecting only one breast.
- SKIN CHANGES: Breast cancer can cause skin changes including scaly, thicker skin or dimples.
- UNDERARM LUMPS: “The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph glands (nodes) in the armpit (axilla). If this occurs, you may develop a swelling or lump in an armpit. If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body then various other symptoms can develop.” (source)
If you feel any of these symptoms, check with your doctor right away.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Some risk factors like genes and aging are hard to avoid. But do not mean you’re sure to get the disease.
Here are 5 breast cancer risk factors you cannot change:
- BEING A WOMAN: Simply being a woman makes you 100 times more liable to breast cancer than a man.
- YOUR AGE: As you get older, your breast cancer risk goes up. In fact, most invasive breast cancers are found in women over 55.
- RACE AND ETHNICITY: Overall, white women are slightly more at risk than African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native women.
- FAMILY HISTORY: Up to 10% of breast cancer cases result directly from gene defects passed on from parents. “Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer almost doubles a woman’s risk. Having 2 first-degree relatives increases her risk about 3-fold.” (source)
- LONGER EXPOSURE TO HORMONES: Early menstruation (before age 12) and late menopause (after age 55) increase the risk due to a longer exposure to hormones.
While these risk factors cannot be changed, there are other things you can avoid to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
- BEING OVERWEIGHT: Women who are overweight tend to have higher blood insulin levels which can increase the risk for breast cancer.
- LACK OF EXERCISE: Research shows a link between exercising 4 to 7 hours a week and lower risks of breast cancer.
- ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: Compared with non-drinkers, the risk of breast cancer in those who drink is 50% higher.
- ORAL CONTRACEPTION: Studies revealed that women taking birth control pills are at higher risk. Luckily, once the pills are stopped, the risk returns to normal over time.
Breast Cancer Natural Prevention
#1 IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP PATTERNS
According to researcher Cheryl Thompson, “we know that regular sleep is an important part of our circadian rhythm, and we know that much of our health, particularly with regard to DNA repair when we talk about cancer, is regulated by our circadian rhythm.” Sleeping between 10 pm and 6 am also helps balance hormones and reduce breast cancer risk.
If you struggle to sleep at night, try rubbing magnesium oil on your feet can get your ZZZs back on track. One user says: “I have restless leg syndrome and I know people say it is all in my head but I know it’s real. I sprayed this on my legs and prayed I could sleep. What do you know it WORKS! I am so happy I tried this and am so happy I can sleep at night. Before I bought this I did not know a magnesium deficiency caused RLS.”
#2 CONTROL BODY WEIGHT
Excess fat tissue increases estrogen levels, which have been linked to breast cancer. According to Dr. Mercola, “it’s important to lose excess weight because estrogen is produced in fat tissue. Fortunately, this will come naturally when you begin eating right and exercising. Intermittent fasting is also extremely effective for weight loss and weight management. As for exercise, I strongly recommend incorporating high-intensity burst-type activities, which are part of my Peak Fitness program.”
Intermittent fasting allows your body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Cancer cells thrive when you are burning carbs. Eat between hours of 11AM and 7PM only fasting period must be 16 hours per day.
You can also drink fat-burning teas such as green tea, white tea, oolong and rooibos tea to amp up your metabolism! One user has been drinking green tea and says: “I’m trying to lose my last 15 lbs. and according to all the research I’ve done,Oolong, White and Green Teas are the best for weight loss. I drink 3-5 cups of these wonderful teas everyday and the pounds come off.”
#3 IMPROVE INTAKE OF VITAMIN D
Many breast cancer cases have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. “Vitamin D can stop breast cancer cells from spreading by replenishing E-cadherin, one of the glue-like components giving structure to those cells. If you don’t have adequate vitamin D, that structure comes apart and those cells do what they are programmed to do in order to survive — they go forth and multiply.” (source)
Dr. Mercola says: “The best way to optimize your vitamin D level is through sun exposure or a safe tanning bed as that virtually eliminates any risk of overdose. As a very general guide, you need to expose about 40 percent of your entire body to the sun for approximately 20 minutes between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun is at its zenith.”
#4 AVOID EXCESSIVE IRON LEVELS
Postmenopausal women need to watch out for extra iron intake. It can increase free radicals and raise your cancer risk. Try to reduce meat consumption and avoid foods ‘fortified’ with iron.
#5 DRINK ORGANIC GREEN VEGETABLE JUICE
Some nutrients in celery and parsley can stop the growth of tumors. Also, broccoli is known as a natural cancer fighter. “Research has shown it blocks tumor growth preventing the further spread of cancer if it does occur. You can also get this anti-cancer benefit from other cruciferous veggies, including cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale — but you most likely need to eat one or more of these vegetables every day.” (source)
Juicing is the most efficient way to boost your veggie intake. An Amazon customer has been drinking Veggie Greens Superfood Powder: “I add a scoop to my smoothie every morning of my life and I am relieved to know that I am getting in my greens. I’m not a huge vegetable eater so I try to never skip my daily serving. The scoop is pretty small, too. Mixed with my vegan Shakeology protein powder, a handful of spinach, small banana, about a half a cup of frozen blueberries in about 12 oz. of almond milk, I don’t detect the greens or any weird texture. I will buy this on an ongoing basis! Very pleased with this product. Feel pretty good all day long except for the days that I miss it.”
#6 EAT PLENTY OF OMEGA-3 FATS
Cancer is often linked to a deficiency of omega-3. Good sources of omega-3 include: cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, tuna, halibut, spinach and supplements.
According to WebMD, “some experts think omega-3s may help protect against cancer. “Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to reduce inflammation in the body. And a variety of cancers have been linked to chronic inflammation,” says Sarah Rafat, RD, a senior dietitian at MD Anderson Cancer Center.”
#7 REDUCE INTAKE OF PROCESSED FOODS, SUGAR, FRUCTOSE
Regulating insulin and leptin levels significantly reduces risk of cancer. Fructose is a significant factor in speeding up cancerous growths
#8 BREASTFEED EXCLUSIVELY FOR 6 MONTHS
Mothers who breastfeed their babies have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Hormonal changes during lactation reduce exposure to estrogen.