Breast Cancer Prevention Tips
Updated: Oct 19
How to pursue breast health 365 days a year
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be medical advice. If you have questions about your health, please speak with your doctor (or better yet, multiple practitioners)!
More and more people that I know and love are being diagnosed with breast cancer and it’s not getting any better. Check out these sobering statistics.
I have a love-hate relationship with “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”. I hate that breast cancer (and all cancer) exists, especially to the devastating extent that it does today. I love the support and that breast cancer patients and survivors get in October, I hope they feel seen and cared for. I hate how commercial it has become - companies trying to sell junk food with a pink ribbon on it as if they really cared. I love that it encourages women to think about their health. I hate that the focus on breast health ends Nov. 1.
Which leads me to what I want to encourage you in today. Your breast health should be a priority to you year round, and a mammogram should not be the extent to which you “take care of yourself”. A mammogram has its place but it does NOT prevent breast cancer. The goal isn’t to find it early. The goal is to not get breast cancer at all.
And to be honest, if you don’t want to be the 1 in 8 who does get breast cancer, you’re gonna have to be different. You’ll have to have a different lifestyle, different mindset and different plan than the majority of Americans. Sidenote: the overall cancer rate is that 1 in 2 people will get some kind of cancer in their lifetime (Cancer Research UK). We can’t let this become our normal. It is not normal for that many people to be that sick.
To be clear, I am not saying that if you do all these things you will not get breast cancer. This is a list of things to consider if you want to give yourself the best chance at preventing cancer. Also, this list is not exhaustive. I want to give my best shot at not being the 1 in 8, and I want you to as well!
Make these changes for overall breast health
Your lifestyle - You need to be thinking about your breast health every day. Be living your life in such a way that you are working to disease-proof your body, making it inhospitable to cancer. This includes the food you eat, the personal care and home products you use, managing stress and getting good sleep.
Your mindset - The American healthcare system is built for diagnostics and treatment (surgery and pharmaceuticals). It has its place, but it’s not educating you on prevention. Is your goal just to have cancer detected if it’s there? Or would you rather not get it? I’m guessing you’d rather not have it at all. In that case, you need to flip the switch to a cancer prevention mindset. And that is something that takes place 365 days a year.
Your plan - A yearly mammogram will not keep you from getting cancer, it will just detect it. It is not prevention, it is diagnostic. To make the prevention lifestyle changes that I mentioned above, you’ll need a plan. How are you going to eat better? Sleep better? Lower your stress? Don’t keep it theoretical, make it your reality. And since an average of 64% of breast cancer patients have self-detected their cancer (California’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Center), self breast exams need to happen at least once a month!
Breast cancer prevention plan
Feeling good and at peace with your breast health plan (and any other health plan) is crucial. If you feel like something is off or just not right for you. I’d encourage you to not ignore that and keep researching and working on your plan until it feels perfect for you. As mentioned above, my goal is breast cancer prevention. So this is what I do and why:
Breast exam by my Gynecologist at my yearly appointment. This is already part of what my doctor does as a part of my yearly exam. I like having another professional opinion on boobs! It's always good to hear the words, “looks good” about that area of my body. Lol! All jokes aside, I only know what MY breasts feel like. My Dr. has more knowledge and experience and I appreciate the bit of ‘peace of mind” I get from this.
Every 6 months:
Thermograms. Thermography does not involve radiation. Instead, it uses an ultra-sensitive camera to produce high-resolution, infrared photographs, or heat images, of the breast. I actually do my whole upper body. This is how I found out that I had fibrocystic breast tissue. They are able to compare my thermography images as time goes by and see changes in my tissue and new “heat” activity from my cells. This is another routine that gives me that coveted “peace of mind”.
Self Breast Exams
Visit mybreastfriend.com to learn more about self-exams.
“You may get your yearly mammogram or thermogram and ultrasound, but there are still 364 days in the year that your breast tissue can change.” - My Breast Health
Several times a week:
What you are doing on a weekly and daily basis has the greatest impact on your health, including your breast health!
Stimulate my lymphatic system! Your lymphatic system is an important part of your immune system. It removes waste and abnormal cells from the lymph! You don’t want this system to be sluggish or blocked! I use dry-brushing as a way to stimulate this system and improve drainage. (Rebounding is also great.) Drinking lots of water, healthy diet and exercise also help.
Apply liquid iodine to my breasts. This was recommended to me to help with the fibrocystic breast tissue, and along with dry brushing has helped a ton with breast tenderness. A lot of people are deficient in iodine!
Exercise (to a sweat). This is another detox friend! Sweating is good for you and your overall health - getting those toxins out of your body. It also helps manage stress and hormones.
Wear bras with no underwire. You basically just don’t want super tight bras that cut off the flow of the lymphatic system. I used to wear underwires all the time! Now, I just wear my favorite one on rare, special occasions.
Eat real food. This is where the mindset shift comes into play, the rubber is meeting the road folks! Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer foods are crucial. Cut out the processed foods, like yesterday. But you already knew this one, right!?
Reducing stress. Stress throws off your hormone system. And guess what - breast cancer is hormone related! Honestly, this is one I am still learning how to do well for myself. Limiting my to-do list, practicing deep breathing and exercising regularly help me.
Reducing harmful chemicals in personal care products (like parabens and aluminum) and in my home (like phthalates). There are so many good reasons to do this! Related to breast health, many harmful chemicals are known to be carcinogenic, meaning they have the potential to cause cancer.
I have completely changed my personal care and cleaners to ones with safe ingredients. I’m loving this so much and would love to send you my recommendations.
Quick changes to make right away
1) Make sure your deodorant has good, clean ingredients with no aluminum and no antiperspirants (remember sweat is good). Your armpits are right by your breasts!
2) Remove carcinogenic phthalates by getting rid of candles and air fresheners (anything with artificial scents) and stop eating and drinking out of plastic. We love drinking from stainless steel cups at home!
I hope this has been helpful for you! I hope you feel inspired to think of your breast health 365 days a year!
A few products that I personally use that were mentioned in this article*
The inexpensive dry brush that I use
Deodorants used by our family
*Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you order after clicking through. I hope that knowing you are helping to support my small business and our family makes you smile. I will never promote anything I would not use myself.
American Cancer Society