I have a few pet peeves in life. One is people telling me how I should lead my life. You know, like what I do to you people every Tuesday. The other thing I find annoying is when people use words incorrectly. My top three are: Nauseous when the correct word is nauseated. Or god forbid you start a sentence with the word “Thusly.” Don’t. Do. That. My top annoying word is Literally. I mean, you are literally *not* dying of laughter. That’s actually exactly what is NOT happening.
Then there’s the small matter of confusing a mammogram with breast cancer prevention.
Breast cancer PREVENTION means stopping cancer from happening in the first place.
Mammograms DIAGNOSE breast cancer when the cancer has already been there for about 10 years. See how this is NOT prevention. It is literally NOT preventing cancer.
I am by no means anti-mammogram.
That is worth repeating. I am NOT ANTI-MAMMOGRAM. Clearly diagnosing breast cancer is important. Getting treatment is important. The earlier the better. What I take issue with is the idea that what you do in your life, your lifestyle, your diet, your stress, your sleep, the correct use of the English language is not important to preventing breast cancer or preventing breast cancer recurrence.
I’m not down with the disempowering message that there is nothing you can do to prevent getting it or prevent it from recurring if you are diagnosed with it. So let’s get to it people. I will now be telling you what to do!!
#1 Get Your Blood Sugar & Insulin In Check
Let’s start with this little nugget of information: Sugar Feeds Cancer Cells. Cancer cells have crazy metabolic machinery. They are not good at burning fat but they are masters at burning up sugar. You may be aware of PET scans that look for cancer all over your body. Do you know what they inject into your body in order to flush out the cancer cells to make them visible? Radioactive SUGAR. That’s right. If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, or if you eat a lot of sugar and processed carbs you are potentially feeding cancer cells.
This is why things like fasting and keto-diets can be part of an anti-cancer treatment strategy.
Having low insulin levels and normal blood sugar levels are pretty important. Now, I don’t want any of you to think that avoiding sugar means simply not adding the five packets of Domino sugar to your morning coffee every day. I’m talking about PROCESSED CARBS that are sugar in wolf’s clothing. Juice is sugar. Alcohol is sugar. Syrup is sugar. Too much fruit is sugar. If you have to read a label, if it comes in a box or a bag and is shelf stable for weeks to months on end, if it has more than one ingredient, then buh-bye.
Check your numbers: Aim for a fasting blood glucose of less than 90 and a fasting insulin of less than 5
#2 Eat 12 Servings Of Vegetables (and two fruits) A Day
You heard me. TWELVE. And it can’t be potatoes all day long. Mix it up. Eat the rainbow (which means different colored veggies).
Why eat 12 vegetables a day?
- Because vegetables turn up your liver’s ability to detoxify bad hormones out of your system. Bye-bye creepy estrogen and endocrine disrupting chemicals!!
- They increase fiber to reduce your blood sugar load. No feeding cancer here!
- They can feed your beneficial bacteria to improve your gut function and to protect you from turning on signals that can lead to immune system chaos.
- Your immune system is what keeps everything in check and keeps cancer at bay. Support it. Nurture it. Read it bed time stories. Give it a daily hug.
How do I get 12 servings a day? Observe……..
1 serving = 1 cup of leafy greens or 1/2 cup of solid veggies
Which ones should I eat?
Use color as your guide. Eat five different colors a day (yellow squash, red cabbage, green arugula, orange peppers, blue blueberries, or purple snozberries–okay Verruca?)
#3 Optimize Your Vitamin D
Women who have vitamin D levels above 50 have lower rates of breast cancer. Vitamin D is critical to a healthy immune system. And, as I’ve said before, don’t use the word thusly. Your immune system is what keeps everything in check and keeps cancer at bay. Thusly…
Check your numbers: Measure 25-OH vitamin D and aim for a level between 50 and 80.
#4 Get Your Inflammation In Check
What is inflammation you ask? Well you obviously DIDN’T ask, but I’m here to tell you anyway. It is your body’s reaction to injury and infection. In the short term this is necessary and important. But when it is happening for long periods of time, it spells trouble.
Why you may ask? Again, you didn’t ask…Because when you are inflamed, you divert your immune system’s energy to fighting off infection and cleaning up injured tissue. When this is happening all the time, the immune system will not have enough resources to take out the stray cancer cell that develops on a daily basis. If you have any of the following symptoms or conditions, you may need to tame your inflammation
- autoimmune issues
- Brittle fingernails
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Daylong fatigue or Fatigue beyond what you think is normal
- Depression and Anxiety
- Food sensitivities
- Groggy upon waking
- Headaches and Migraines
- IBS, stomach issues, diarrhea and or constipation
- Joint aches and pains or chronic musculoskeletal injuries
- PMS (for women)
- Poor sleep
- Skin conditions: atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Weight gain
- Zebra envy (couldn’t come up with a Z word condition) — at the very least this is not a normal thing and should be addressed by a true professional. Exactly what kind of professional – I’m not sure…
Check your numbers: have your doctor measure a few inflammatory markers like hsCRP (high sensitivity C- reactive protein, ferritin, ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), a CBC or white blood cell count (high end or low end of the range is a red flag), and ANA (anti nucleic acid antibodies). Mind you, if these are all normal you are not necessarily in the clear. These markers don’t represent EVERY single mediator in your body that indicates inflammation. But if any of them ARE abnormal, then you at least have a marker to track your progress.
#5 Get Your Stress Levels In Check
Your adrenal glands that sit atop each of your kidneys are the ones responsible for cranking out the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Are you thinking about how “they” might feel? Working day and night? Dealing with all that crazy stress, over-obligation, over-scheduling hoo-ha you’ve got going on? Have you stopped to think how they are doing? Well? HAVE YOU?? Let me tell ya, they’re not HAPPY, that’s for sure. (As an aside, the word “hoo-ha” is drastically underutilized. Hoo-Ha. I just hope I’m using it correctly…)
High or low cortisol levels can lead to a pro-cancer environment which of course increases your risk for cancer in general. And since breast cancer is the most common cancer for women (after lung cancer) then it behooves you to take note of how stress should be addressed. (NOTE TO SELF: don’t use the word behooves again.) To start with, you are meant to be in bed by 10PM. Not in bed binging on the latest Netflix series like Schitt’s creek (a must watch) or the Irishman (a must NOT watch). I mean in bed and asleep.
While we are on the topic of sleep…
Women who sleep less than 7 hours a night have a higher risk of breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence compared to women who sleep 8 hours or more a night.
Women who do night shift work with inherently disrupted circadian rhythms have a 2 to 3 times greater risk of developing cancer and dying of all cause mortality than women who do not do night shift work.
Stop the fight or flight hit parade and Calm Down!!
Try meditation, yoga, gratitude journaling, dancing, gardening, walking in nature, petting a dog, acupuncture, massage, breath work or volunteering. All the things that calm us down.
Get rid of toxic people in your life. And toxic friends. And toxic jobs. And toxic clothing. Stop saving that size 25 waist pair of jeans. It will never happen. Get. Rid. Of. Them.
Here are some suggestions. To make this interesting, I’ve devised a little sitcom trivia called “NAME THAT SHOW” —WARNING, the pop culture references below are for those of you 50 years and older
Run fast and far away to a deserted island with Gilligan…and the Skipper too…
See if you can borrow Alice the housekeeper from Mike and Carol Brady to give you a break from housework and your three biological kids and three adopted kids. “The only steps to this house, are there…up to your bedroom.” Oh Carol. So sweet.
Be Mortisha, not Uncle Fester. If you can light a lightbulb in your mouth, you may be overstressed.
Don’t be Horshak, Be Vinny Barbarino. Cool as a cucumber. Not a care in the world. PLUS he will be making BANK in just a few years..
#6 Make Sure Your Thyroid Is Working Well, Not Just Getting By
There is a link between having an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) and having a greater risk of breast cancer.
Check your numbers: TSH should ideally be between .5 and 1.5
#7 Aside From Vitamin D, What Supplements Can I Take For Prevention?
Obviously supplements are no replacement for a healthy lifestyle, but may help support health in addition to good nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress reduction. Below is a list of supplements that are generally considered beneficial for most people. When we support good health, we are likely reducing our risk of disease in general. You should always speak with your doctor and do your own research before taking any supplements.
I have created a link to an online professional grade supplement dispensary called Fullscript. If you don’t have an account already you can create one to view the following recommendations to find out more about these specific supplement recommendations.
- Vitamin D: I recommend 2,000 IU a day of a good Vitamin D/K2 combo. I prefer using a 5,000 IU D3 tablet, 1 tablet 3 day/week if you have normal levels, or take one tablet daily for a few months if you are deficient then recheck your serum levels to see if you’ve hit the mark. Check out K Force.
- Probiotics: Increased use of antibiotics has been associated with multiple cancers including breast. If you have any signs of imbalances with your digestion, acne, rosacea or frequent yeast infections then adding a probiotic to your regimen is a good idea. Check them out Orthobiotic and Megasporebiotic. If you tend towards yeast, consider a probiotic that has Saccharomyces boulardii. Always start with one capsule a day and over time you can increase to 2 a day.
- Sulforaphane: This is the essential ingredient in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale that has been shown to decrease the progression of cancer cells and helps your body resist the impact of toxins. This supplement may help give your body a little more protection against toxic exposures. Xymogen has a great product called Oncoplex. This is only available on the xymogen website, a healthcare provider or designated health food stores.
- Fish oil: The reduction in system wide inflammation is likely why fish oil may have a beneficial impact on reducing breast cancer risk. More studies are needed but given the anti-inflammatory benefit, it’s worth adding it in. Quality obviously matters here. I like Pro-Omega, Orthomega, and Carlson’s Brand.
- Green Tea Extract: This is an amazing anti-oxidant due to it’s amazing amount of polyphenols. A 2018 review suggested that the active ingredient in green tea, EGCG may help to reduce recurrence rates, and delay the onset of cancer. Drink 3 cups of green tea a day or try a supplement if you don’t have time to pee all day long. I like this one Green Tea Phyto caps, 2 capsules 1-2x/day
- Turmeric: Studies show that turmeric may kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth, however most of this research is in animal models. It can interfere with cancer chemotherapy, so avoid during treatments. Check this one out: Turmero from Apex Energetics — dosing depends on your inflammatory status. Starting dose is 1 tsp a day and if you have ongoing inflammation you can increase to 2 times a day.
So, at the risk of making any of you NAUSEOUS, I will LITERALLY stop typing and THUSLY my post is done.
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For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website www.drsadaty.com.
Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!