Photo Credit: by CassandraM, flickr.com
By now, you probably know that October is breast cancer awareness month and it’s time to think pink. But one of the best ways you can honor cancer survivors and victims, their families, and yourself during this special month is to explore ways that you can lower your risk of breast cancer--and then share that information with others, too.
Until we have a cure for cancer beyond cancer medications, the best we all can do is to get checked out early (early detection is one of the best methods of breast cancer prevention!) and take steps to lower our risk of developing cancer. Whether you need to start doing some things or stop doing others, below, we give you ten easy tips that could help to lower your risk of breast cancer.
1. Sip a morning coffee!
Who would’ve thought that having a coffee in the morning could actually help to lower your cancer risk? New research published on WebMD suggests that “Women who drink more than five cups of coffee a day may be reducing their risk of one type of breast cancer.” However, it’s important to note that previous research has conflicting findings when it comes to coffee and the risk of breast cancer, so always follow your doctor’s advice. This October, spread breast cancer awareness by setting up a few coffee dates and sharing about the current research around breast cancer--and how coffee may actually help to lower the risk.
2. Stand up
You may think that standing and sitting have nothing to do with your risk of developing cancer, but actually, spending less time sitting and more time standing or active during your days can help you break free from the many health risks of a sedentary lifestyle. The more active you are, the better. But beware of harsh deodorants in your active lifestyle--some suspect a link between drugstore deodorants and breast cancer.
3. Eat less barbeque
Yep, it may be disappointing to hear, but that delicious char-grilled style of cooking may not be doing your cancer risk levels any favors. The charred, burnt, or blackened crispy parts of grilled steaks and other meats actually contain carcinogens, so it’s best to avoid BBQ except on special occasions. While BBQ food is probably safe enough to eat in moderation, you don’t want to overdo it and add undue, unnecessary additional carcinogens to your body. Plus, processed meats are not exactly the picture of optimal health.
4. Check up on your vitamin D levels
How are your vitamin D levels? Most people probably don’t know how to answer that question, but it’s worth looking into. There’s a suspected link between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of developing breast cancer.
Being aware of your nutritional levels when it comes to vitamins and minerals, as well as any potential deficiencies, could help you to take your health into your own hands by nipping any problems in the bud. One surefire way to get increased vitamin D intake is to spend more time in the sun, so work some additional time spent in nature into your day--just make sure to wear a good, reef-safe sunscreen to protect both yourself and the earth.
5. Practice safe sexual behavior
The question has been asked whether HPV causes or leads to breast cancer. Some types of HPV do lead to cancer. An article in The Guardian reported that “Women with abnormal cells on their cervix owing to certain types of human papillomavirus likely to be at higher risk of developing breast cancer later in life.” So, to avoid increasing your risk of cancer, it’s a good idea to avoid HPV by practicing safe sexual behavior.
6. Check up on the air quality inside your home
Could your indoor air quality be affecting your risk of cancer? Possibly. It’s well documented that in heavily polluted places like some cities in India and China, there are significantly more cancer cases. So wouldn’t the same logic apply to your very own home? Of course, it’s likely that your air quality is nowhere near the dangerous levels of these highly toxic cities, but if there are pollutants, added bacteria, or even spores from mold or mildew in your air, breathing it in on a daily basis for years and decades could be seriously dangerous.
But it’s not just the yucky stuff that can cause harm--some are even concerned that strong air fresheners with artificial scents and harsh chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde could be doing us harm. Check up on your home’s air quality and make sure you’re keeping your body alive with clean, fresh air that’s free of harmful chemicals or pollutants. And don’t forget that men can get breast cancer, too, so it’s best for everyone to be breathing air that’s free of toxins and pollutants.
7. No TV tonight
You may be confused by this piece of advice--how bad can it be simply to sit and watch TV? But the issue lies more in the sedentary lifestyle of excessive television watching. In addition, a new study suggested that sitting and watching TV could be linked to a risk of colorectal cancer before age 50. While this isn’t necessarily linked to breast cancer, it’s important to realize that your everyday activities may not be helping you if you do them too excessively.
8. Less routine work: skip the night shift
If you plan to conduct nighttime work for 20 to 30 years of your life, you may want to reconsider. An article published in Medscape shares, “A meta-analysis of international data confirms a positive association between long-term night shift work and an increased overall risk for cancer in women, particularly breast cancer.” It’s especially true for nurses, who often work long and grueling hours.
Perhaps this is due to the idea that getting out of a natural circadian rhythm might not be too good for your health. Our bodies are built to rise with the sun, exert themselves throughout the day, and then rest when the world grows dark. Adhering instead to an unnatural pattern could be potentially harmful to your body, putting undue stress on it and messing with its ability to heal and ward off diseases.
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