Breast health is an important component of women’s overall wellness. Breast health concerns include breast lumps, breast pain, or nipple discharge. The primary step a woman can take to maintain breast health is to take the time to understand breast anatomy and schedule regular physical exams. The reasons why breast cancer is increasing include:
- Increased environmental pollution causes abnormal cell function.
- Increases in total body toxin burdens affect the ability of the liver and kidneys to filter.
- The use of restrictive bras increases incidence.
- The increased use of prescription drugs including birth control pills alters the endocrine balance.
Ways to maintain Breast Health with naturopathic care
Exercise and good eating are important for better breast health, but this powerful duo also reduces your risk of developing breast cancer. Or, if you have been diagnosed with it, exercise and a healthy diet can increase your chances of beating the disease.
Eat a healthy balanced diet
It is known that good nutrition can help you maintain your health and protect you from diseases such as breast cancer. It is important to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, fish, soybeans, and pumpkin seeds. Also, broccoli, cabbage, kale, melon, and whole grains are important to keep your breasts healthy. Sulforaphane is produced in the body after you have eaten broccoli and has been shown to decrease the progression of cancer cells and to reduce the impact that carcinogens may have on the body. This means that if we are exposed to a toxin that could cause cancer, the transition to a cancer cell is less likely to occur when sulforaphane is around us. Avoid processed foods and increase the consumption of cruciferous vegetables by 20 to 30 g of fiber per day.
Regular exercise can help maintain breast health and prevent breast cancer by boosting immune function, avoiding obesity, and lowering levels of estrogen and insulin. Exercise, including total body cardiovascular and stretching and strengthening (yoga, pilates, walking with Nordic poles, and vibrational weight-bearing machines).
To maintain a healthy weight is very important as we know obesity is the root of all disease. Women who are obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more tend to have more advanced disease when their breast cancer is diagnosed than women with BMI below 25. These women are also at higher risk of spreading the disease and are more likely to die from breast cancer. Health care professionals should encourage weight management at all stages of life and avoid adverse consequences and late effects, as well as improving overall health and possibly survival.
Castor oil and ricinoleic acid maintains a healthy breast and easily penetrates deep into the skin and enhances the transdermal penetration of other chemicals. Organic castor oil packs applied from the breast to the pubic area at low heat for 30 minutes three to four times a week for three to four weeks initially and then twice a month is a good plan.
Lymphatic Breast Massage
Lymphatic drainage cream or breast oils applied to the breast tissue, including the axilla, to the collar bone and a few inches down the midriff, to stimulate the lymphatic drainage of the tissues. Start with the lymph glands in the neck and gently roll down to the top of the collar bone. Feel the hollow spot behind the collar bone and gently stretch the skin from the shoulder to the center of the body (at the bottom of the throat). This opens the lymph passages before they are emptied into the circulatory system and is important for breast health.
Drinking enough water is essential to health. Not drinking enough can result in dehydration which can lead to poor breast health. It is recommended that you drink a minimum of 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of water each day.
Caffeine is known to stimulate fibrocystic breast changes. Instead of coffee, drink aromatic, and antioxidant-rich herbal teas. Or try alternatives for coffee, such as the brewed root chicory.
Reducing Alcohol Intake
Women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage a day are at an increased risk of affecting their breast health. The relative risk of breast cancer is increased by 7% for every additional 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day. More recently, summary data has shown that even in women who drink ≤12.5 g / day (≤1 drink/day) the risk of breast cancer has increased by 5 percent compared to non-drinkers. Alcohol causes recurrence and survival of the tumor in those diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ways to maintain Breast Health with Supplementation
Vitamin D plays an important role in controlling normal breast cell growth and may be able to stop the growth of breast cancer cells. Women with low vitamin D are at higher risk of developing breast cancer, and survivors of breast cancer with low vitamin D levels may be at higher risk of recurrence of the disease. Researchers suggest that high levels of vitamin D are linked to improved survival rates for breast cancer. It is recommended that women obtain at least 2000 IU of vitamin D supplements daily. Vitamin D receptor genes operated by vitamin D play an important role in the mammary gland by regulating the transport of calcium during lactation, hormonal differentiation, and milk production. Research has been done to identify vitamin D as a risk factor for breast cancer to be targeted for cancer prevention. A circulating vitamin D levels (≥45 ng / mL) may protect against breast cancer.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil supplementation reduces the risk of breast cancer. Researchers observed a 24% reduction in the risk of breast cancer with cod liver use ≥ 1 week during adolescence. Similar reductions in risk have been evident for use up to 54 years of age.
Fish oil supplementation also maintains breast health. This oil is currently common in the US (from fish high in EPA and DHA) which lowers breast cancer risk.
If you would like help creating an effective supplementation protocol to improve your breast health and general health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bryan McConnell, ND, DO by calling 520-399-9212 or visit www.NatureCureDoc.com.
Frances E. Norlock, Elizabeth A. Jacobs, Elizabeth A. Marcus: Breast Health and Common Breast Problems: A Practical Approach. ACP Press, 2004
Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Kristin Campbell, and Sandi C. Hayes: Weight Management and its Role in Breast Cancer Rehabilitation. Cancer. 2012 Apr 15; 118(8 0): 10.1002/cncr.27466. doi: 10.1002/cncr.27466
Jasmine A. McDonald, Abhishek Goyal, and Mary Beth Terry: Alcohol Intake and Breast Cancer Risk: Weighing the Overall Evidence. 2013 Sep; 5(3): 10.1007/s12609-013-0114-z.Manar Atoum and Foad Alzoughool: Vitamin D and Breast Cancer: Latest Evidence and Future Steps. Published online 2017 Dec 20. doi: 10.1177/1178223417749816
Sat Dharam Kaur: The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer: A Practical Manual for Understanding, Prevention & Care. R. Rose, 2003