Women’s Health – Preventing Breast Cancer

The following post is based on information in the ‘Cancer Active ‘ article ‘Breast Cancer, hot topics, cool thinking’. Here are some simple steps you can take to help you avoid falling victim to breast cancer.

steps to prevent breast cancer

Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


1.    Avoid or minimise red meat
Eating red meat is linked with a threefold increased risk in breast cancer, possibly due to the animal’s own hormones, or the pesticides from the fields it grazed in. Research in Icon concluded that red meat eating caused cellular inflammation – the precursor of many cancers.

2.    Cut out  dairy foods
Cut out cows’ dairy consumption from your diet. The Karolinska Institute amongst other centres of research excellence have shown a direct line correlation: The more cows’ dairy you consume, the greater your risk of breast cancer. The reason is primarily a hormone in the milk called IGF-1 which makes human cells grow and divide rapidly. You can get all the calcium you need from a good helping of green vegetables each day.

3.    Maintain your correct weight
Being overweight increases your risks of breast cancer and if you are more than 7 kilos over, your risk is statistically worse than for smoking. If you are overweight and smoke, one US study showed the combination cut around 13 years (yes, thirteen years) off your life expectancy.

4.    Cut out sugar
Cut all common glucose from your diet. Glucose is the favourite food of the cancer cell and there are several studies showing people with the highest levels of blood glucose have the shortest survival times. You will find glucose everywhere – in fizzy soft-drinks, ‘healthy’ Ribena, burgers and ‘healthy’ breakfast cereals, milkshakes and cakes and biscuits.

5.    Cut down on alcohol
Then there’s alcohol, itself a source of sugar. A woman’s chances of breast cancer increase by 6 per cent with every regular extra daily drink.

6.    Cut out salt And salt. In the UK it is mainly hidden from our view in processed and packaged foods. Even beer contains quite high salt levels. You require no more than one gram a day on average – that’s one sausage or rasher of bacon; three bowls of breakfast cereal; 4 slices of bread, and watch out for the canned foods and packets of crisps. One of the worst culprits is Chinese food.

7.    Take Supplements
Many women who develop breast cancer have significant vitamin and mineral deficiencies. US research has shown deficiencies of selenium and zinc increase risk, while 72 per cent of US women with breast cancer were shown to be vitamin C deficient and 78 per cent to be deficient in vitamin B-12. US research also showed that women with low blood levels of vitamin E were 500 times more likely to get the disease, the tocotrienol variants of vitamin E being far more preventative than the tocopherol variants.

8.    Take fish oil supplements
Like vitamin E, long-chain omega-3 has been shown to keep breast tissue less dense. Women with the highest blood levels of omega-3 have the lowest levels of breast cancer. Long-chain omega 3 is principally obtained from oily fish and taking fish oils.

9.    Get good sun exposure or take vitamin D
Women with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D have more breast cancer, and survive less. Professor Hollick of Harvard has stated that there ‘would be 25 per cent less fatalities from breast cancer if women took adequate levels of vitamin D’. If you cannot go out in the sunshine for at least 30 minutes a day, you should supplement; some US medical centres recommend 5,000 IUs a day.

10.  Eat Garlic
Women who consume the highest levels of garlic have less breast cancer. One reason is thought to be due to active factors in garlic killing cancer cells and also preventing the formation of new blood vessels for tumours.

11.  Eat plenty of pulses, fruit, vegetables and greens
Women with the highest level of plant oestrogens, or phytoestrogens, in their blood streams have less breast cancer risk. Typically these women are in South East Asia where their consumption of fruit and vegetables can give them blood phytoestrogen levels 1000 times greater than their New York cousins. Phytoestrogens have about 50 times less strength than oestrone the weakest of the human oestrogens. Some ignorant commentators suggest phytoestrogens are ‘dangerous’ – frankly, this is daft and exposes a poor knowledge of science, since phytoestrogens can block the receptor sites oestradiol would like to attack! Typically phytoestrogens are plentiful in vegetables and fruits, greens and pulses, like chick peas, beans, soya beans. Over 30 per cent of our protein came from pulses in 1900, now it is less than 2 per cent. We no longer eat the foods that protect us

12.  Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables
One of the most potent ‘new’ discoveries in natural compounds for oestrogen-driven cancers is Indole 3 Carbinol, (I3C), typically found in broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale and pok choi. I3C has the ability to actually denature aggressive oestradiol turning it into its weaker sisters, whilst denaturing the by-products too. Research has shown that it can reverse oestrogen-driven cancers, block oestrogen receptor sites and it can restore a damaged p53 gene. It can also reduce the effects of oestrogen mimics and has been dubbed by UCLA to be the ‘safer, natural Tamoxifen’.

13.  Avoid artificial hormones where possible
Taking the contraceptive pill increases the risk of breast cancer by about 26 per cent. There are even fears over IVF treatment. But the real health terrorist has been the use of HRT. Described by the German Health minister a few years ago as ‘the new thalidomide’, several research studies have shown that this synthetic hormone can double the risks of breast cancer, and also increase the risks of others (like ovarian). With the decreased usage of HRT in America, breast cancer rates have actually fallen for the first time for years.

14.  Beware synthetic thyroxine
Also emerging as a possible risk factor is the use of synthetic thyroxine. Historically, women with lowered thyroid performance had less risk of breast cancer. However, some women are put on synthetic thyroxine to compensate for deficiencies. The debate is now starting in the USA. Inadequate testing of the reasons for lowered production has been cited – low iodine levels for example. Women are supposedly given a level of thyroxine commensurate with their weight, and should even alter their dosage with weather conditions. Unfortunately, where women have a standard dose, and eat an iodine-rich meal (shell fish) they may suddenly have excesses of thyroxine. US Research has now indicated a possible increased risk of breast cancer, with excess thyroxine. Thyroxine uses similar chemical pathways to oestrogen in the body.

15.  Take daily exercise
Take daily exercise. The latest research says that those people who do 30 minutes of exercise daily get less cancer, and those with breast cancer survive longer. Exercise can be a brisk walk, a swim, yoga, T’ai Chi or whatever you fancy. But do it every day.

The aim of Cancer Active is to empower people to increase their personal odds of beating cancer; to be able to make more informed, personal choices about their cancer treatment options. They do this by providing all information, not just on orthodox cancer treatments, but on complementary cancer therapies and some, currently alternative, cancer treatments too.


  1. This is all very good information. As someone with a huge risk of breast cancer thanks to a terrible family history, I strive to stay informed about any possible prevention methods I can find. Thanks for this!
    Kay Kauffman recently posted..Moon DreamsMy Profile

  2. Thanks for all the helpful, if not scary, info. I appreciate how this article’s impact may impact my health!
    Claudia recently posted..That’s No Way to Treat Nice Boston Marathon RunnersMy Profile

  3. WOW! I see several things I am not yet doing, and only a few that I am (but thank goodness for them!). This is a great list and I will have to look it over thoughtfully and carefully to consider where I need and am willing to make changes.
    Mystic Comfort recently posted..Using a Magic Wand to Supercharge Your Full Moon RitualMy Profile

  4. This is a really great post! Lots of great information thanks for sharing.

    Blogging A to Z
    KayK recently posted..W is for WaspMy Profile

  5. Thanks for your good advice, but it is important to take into consideration the following two points:

    – Know your risks, yours and your family medical history.
    – Have regular checkups and tests for early cancer detection.

    Kindly regards!

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